Currently the whole of Australia is under the misguided impression that it’s possible for a champion waterskier to become a headlining boxer virtually overnight, since she herself can’t see much difference between the sports. So there’s your problem right there. Lauryn Eagle, 22, who also does some work as a swimsuit model, seems to think that her core strength and fitness from skimming over water attached to a boat, has made the transition between the two sports really easy. Basically mission accomplished. Bring on the world title.
She told a recent press conference for Sunday’s Main Event IBF title eliminator between Daniel Geale against Roman Karmazin, that the ‘core values’ of waterskiing and boxing are the same. What values are they exactly? I’d like to know. I’m not familiar with the values of waterskiing but boxing I understand. And I have come, over more than a decade’s involvement, to accept that it brings out the best and the worst in people. I wonder if Lauryn is aware of that. Does she know that some of the core values of professional boxing are brutality, profit, pain and hypocracy? Maybe soon, along with some of the more fundamental basics, like jabbing and slipping, she will learn that too.
My sources tell me that she is an enthusiastic amateur who buckles under serious pressure from female boxers her own size. She has a lot to learn since the competition in female boxing is more genuine and dangerous than it has ever been in the history of the sport. And it’s only going to get tougher. If she knew anything at all about the sport she wouldn’t have the gall to say it was easy, insulting the serious male boxers flanking her at the presser and everyone who ever laced on gloves. She’d also know that Laila Ali will never fighter her because she is not only several years retired but a good ten kgs heavier than Eagle and a fight between them would never take place.
Eagle herself is an innocent, one could even say naive pawn in this opportunistic game of pro boxing. But really, anyone who knows and loves the sport, male or female, has to feel their hackles rise when someone who’s not yet fought a full round against a serious opponent, tells the world how easy the fight game is. Frankly only a complete ignoramus would say such a thing. But Lauryn Eagle got away with it because, a) no one in Australia knows or gives a shit about women’s boxing and b) she’s a good sort so whose listening to what she says anyway.
Most are too busy clinging to some rickety bandwagon to object. Privately, the key figures in Australian boxing say she’s a dud. Publicly, they’re keeping their mouths shut as they so often do when there are mismatches and record padding and dangerous, irresponsible fights being made only long enough for subscribers click the ‘buy’ button on their Foxtel account. That’s because it’s a small world full of sensitive egos and you never know who you might be putting off side. I can’t blame them.
But really, it’s time people spoke out for the sake of boxing itself. I know how hard and how long the real female boxers have campaigned for recognition in this country. Our female amateur team did better in the AIBA women’s world championships than the men’s team did in Commonwealth Games in Dehli. But they had to do it with no money, no international tournaments or high performance programs to prepare them and they came home to media silence.
So here’s a reality check. Women’s pro boxing in Australia might be small, but there is enough talent – both in the boxing sense and the ‘good sort’ sense – to put a legitimate, quality fight on Main Event between accomplished female practitioners of the sweet science. You could start with Sarah Howett, Susie Ramadan, Diana Prazak, Erin McGowan and Angie Parr. It’s not as even Eagle is the only option.
Only two weeks ago Erin McGowan won a World Boxing Organisation championship belt in an international bout against Lindsey Scragg and it wasn’t on TV or reported in the mainstream papers. McGowan is attractive, accomplished and serious and yet her considerable achievements have been diminished by this circus sideshow of bikini boxing.
Putting on novelty acts is ten years past it’s use by date. It doesn’t serve boxing or anyone at all really.