Despite my roots as a coal miner’s son from South Yorkshire my historic distaste for women’s boxing isn’t borne out of a misogynistic perspective on the fairer sex. If a women wishes to make a living from the noble art and ticket buying fans are willing to indulge her then I applaud the freedom to pursue that goal afforded by the modern world. And it’s true I enjoyed Million Dollar Baby but when it comes to actual, real women’s boxing, don’t ask me to watch because, simply put, it isn’t very good. Last night I didn’t have the luxury of choice.
Over the years I’ve had ample opportunity to catch Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Wolfe and others but I don’t think I’ve afforded a single female fight more than thirty seconds before taking the chance to snoozeor take an overdue comfort break ahead of the main event. Last night, whilst feeding my three week old daughter and with the SKY box frozen – as it has a tendancy to do these days – I had no escape from the clash between Holly Holm and veteran Chevelle Hallback. A fight made at Light-Welterweight and shown on FiveUS courtesy of ESPN.
Now I’ve heard of Chevelle Hallback thanks to a couple of bleary eyed contests on Knockout Kings and to the uninitiated she roughly equates to a female Lovemore N’Dou. Both in looks and in stalking fighting style, clearly this does a massive injustice to N’Dou but is the best context I can offer. Holm meanwhile appears to be a new poster girl for the sport. Pretty, blond and wearing high-legged pink shorts she certainly didn’t look like a fighter but once the bell rang she demonstrated that women’s boxing has come a long way.
Decent movement, well delivered shots without the hint of slapping or open glove and with decent evasive footwork when Hallback tried to force her way inside. True the rangy Holm doesn’t possess a jab from her southpaw stance, preferring to lead with her long left, but such was her hand-speed and precision that it served to deter the 35 year old Hallback all night.
Her left hook wasn’t bad either and both girls demonstrated a level of stamina that was impressive, the work-rate was good and the intent was evident throughout. I wouldn’t say I’m a convert but I’ll not be ducking out of the room should Holly Holm appear on screen any time soon.
Holm already holds victories over Jane Couch, Christy Martin and Mia St. John and next on the radar appears to be chunky Middleweight champion Mary Jo Sanders.
Other interest on the card focused on Clarence ‘Bones’ Adams’ return from retirement with a solid ten round workout. He looked a little rusty but he has a rounded game to serve as a threat to leading contenders.