Female fighters have long been left out of the official boxing industry.
Their sport was even banned in some states and countries. June 23 marked the anniversary of Title IX, legislation that was passed in 1972 which, among other things, prohibited sports programs from excluding participants based on gender.
In the late 1970s, women started getting boxing licenses in a handful of states around the country, and, in 1993, USA Boxing, the governing body for amateur boxing, began to recognize female boxers. In 2012, female boxing was included in the Olympics for the first time.
What was the big deal? Teresa Scott was determined to find out. As a creative director in publishing for 14 years, sitting at a desk all day didn’t help her weight problems.
“I got into boxing because I was tired of being fat and sad,” Scott said. “I’d been heavy my whole life.”
A new career
What started as a way to lose weight (more than 60 pounds) soon became a path that led Scott to quit her job and start Women’s World of Boxing, the first women’s boxing gym in New York City.
But taking up a male-dominated sport wasn’t the easiest task.
When Scott started boxing, there were only a handful of women who attended her gym.
“I’d compare the environment to walking into a men’s locker room,” she said. “The music just stopped and everyone looked at me like I walked through the wrong door.”
The co-ed boxing gym was uncomfortable and intense. She felt like she had to put forth more energy before her trainer would take her seriously.
“They took the men seriously right away,” she said. “The preferential treatment was so obvious.”
So she started her own gym.
A space for women
The all-female environment is more supportive and less competitive.
“It’s so much deeper than just boxing. I have students who are the heads of companies. Boxing helps with their anxiety, stressful situations at home, family and work. It provides a comfortable space for them to learn and feel empowered, grow stronger, see progress.”
Scott first requires her students to take a boxing mechanics class, which teaches them the proper boxing fundamentals.
“I feel very strongly that my students should learn the science of the sport,” Scott said.
And the classes have been life changing.
“Women’s World of Boxing creates a positive and inviting environment,” Jennifer Buglione said. “Teresa constantly says ‘You are your biggest obstacle,’ or ‘Don’t say you can’t do it, because you can — and I did.’ Hearing words like that while getting through my 50th crunch or trying to hold my plank pushes me. Boxing has made me fearless.”
Co-ed boxing clubs:
Women’s World of Boxing
(at Mendez Boxing)
25 W. 26th St. 212-689-5255
Trinity Boxing Club
110 Greenwich St.
Church Street Boxing Gym
25 Park Place
1 West 28th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001