Top officials lift lid on 'grubby' and 'sexist' women's boxingAug 13, 3:47 pm
London, August 13 (ANI): America's top boxing officials have delivered a knockout blow to Irish athlete Katie Taylor's pro dreams, warning her to think twice before moving to the US to seek her fortune.Dodgy promoters, badly organised bouts, rotten pay and some controversial stars have given the once-popular professional sport such a bad name that TV executives refuse to air fights.The 26-year-old's Olympic victory has thrown women's boxing into the spotlight - something professional promoters plan to cash in on - but an Irish Mail on Sunday investigation reveals that the sport is anything but pretty."Women's professional boxing is even more unscrupulous than men's," the Daily Mail quoted Don 'Moose' Lewis, chairman of the Women's International Boxing Council, as saying."My honest advice to Katie would be, "Don't do it. Stay where you are. Aim for the next Olympics."As a gold medal winner, Katie will get sponsorships and endorsements. She can make money in Ireland. She does not want to be scratching around America trying to make a living."People assume boxers make millions. That is true only of the top 1 percent of men. Your average male boxer earns between 6,000 dollars and 15,000 dollars per fight. A woman is lucky to get 3,000 dollars tops."It's all about money - getting on pay-per-view television. Women are seen as the warm-up act. They fight 10 two-minute rounds, whereas men are considered better value because they go 12 three-minute rounds."It is something we are trying to change but in boxing there's no such thing as equal pay."Sexism is rife - men want to see pretty girls fighting."Laila Ali was big in the late 1990s, which was the heyday of women's boxing. But you have to ask the question: would anyone have watched an overweight woman fight if her father wasn't Muhammad Ali?"Then you've got the pretty girls, who quit to become models or turn up naked on the pages of Playboy and Penthouse. That's not good for boxing, either," he said.Atlanta-based Lewis, who caused an uproar two years ago when he pitched a reality TV idea to set up an all-white American baseball league, claims unscrupulous promoters send women fighters to Mexico and America's poorer Southern states, where anything goes. "Some states demand the women wear plastic breast and groin guards," he said."That leaves just four inches of stomach to hit, you can hear them punching the plastic. That's no good, so they go straight for the head."Women's weight often varies by several pounds so they are switched from lightweight to welter-weight. You get some poor little girl being pummelled by someone 10lbs heavier and they don't stand a chance."There is money to be made from pro boxing but not in America. Europe and the Far East have the big purses. Here, the women are scrabbling around to pay fight fees, air fares and trainers. Sometimes, they are even expected to pay opponents, too. It's grubby."If Katie decided to go pro in America, it would be a tremendous publicity boost. Maybe, HBO and Showtime TV channels would start showing fights again."As a promoter, I would take Katie, aged 26, over our 17-year-old Olympic middleweight, Claressa Shields, because Katie is easier on the eye. She is also clean-living and that would do a lot to help boxing's bad image."To be a success in women's boxing you need power, grace, beauty and charisma. Katie has all that and she could have a stellar career here in America. But she would struggle," he added. (ANI)
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