INTERESTING MELISSA SMITH JOINS WBC BOARD
Pioneering author Melissa Smith has accepted an invitation to join the World Boxing Council’s Female Committee.
It came from WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, after Melissa gave a spellbinding presentation to the second WBC Women’s Convention, at the elegant Grand Hotel, in Tijuana of her groundbreaking book entitled: History of Women’s Boxing.
Written in 2010, and published in 2012, for the first time it draws together the strands of women’s boxing history, encapsulated in Pink Gloves, Bloody Faces.
Origins go way back, but Melissa relates to one enchanting and rather quirky newspaper challenge issued by Elizabeth Wilkinson to Hannah Hayfield in the 1720’s, following “WORDS” between them.
Each woul hold a half crown in the palm of one hand, and the First Lady to let fall the silver coin to the ground would forfeit three guineas. The penny concerning women’s boxing had dropped. Oh the power of the written word! My word!
Another breakthrough in the USA, when Bar owner and entrepreneur Henry Hall presented a silver dish to the lady who won the fight, while the runner up got a whip round from the patrons.
Perhaps a false dawn, when women’s boxing became an exhibition sport at the St Louis Olympics in 1904. It took a journey of just another one hundred eight years for the Olympics to embrace the full concept.
World War One and two where women worked in hands on jobs changed fragile perceptions and women’s determination to progress’ found substance, and less frilly garb. Yet cross over transformation, came at a risk. The entire California Boxing Commission received death threats for sanctioning a women’s fight. Court cases had to be fought, ingrained prejudices were bruised, and biased, in spite of the era of Civil Rights.
Christy Martin with her courage, savvy and audacity rekindled boxing in the 1990’s. Also reviving the concept of the pink gloves from the roaring twenties, Christy fought her way on to the undercard of a Mike Tyson extravaganza. Then along came brilliant Laila Ali. And the daughters of other famous champions.
The major breakthrough occurred when the WBC began to sanction women’s boxing matches in 2005, which was enormous for the sport. Melissa stressed this was due to the vision and determination of Don Jose Sulaiman.
And the future beacons with a strategic path offering great opportunities, with one of the greatest challenges being pay equity. Women’s fight purses need to reward their achievements.
Euridite without getting glued down in data, self depreciating, intelligent and rather bright, what an asset Melissa Smith is going to be to the WBC Female Committee.