The Herald Sun’s Ron Reed has finally discovered women’s boxing, which is great for him, and for the rest of us too, I suppose, even though he’s about five years behind the times.
But while we have been watching the sport grow and develop exponentially over the past decade, Reed has been hiding behind his own prejudices, pretending it will go away as long as he doesn’t look at it or write about it.
I used to work at the Herald Sun and Reed was happy to leave the reporting of women’s boxing to me. But if I was still there maybe we’d have to fight over the chance to cover what are clearly among the most exciting fights on many of the broadcast shows.
It’s all because Reed found himself ringside at the Susie Q Ramadan v Alesia Graf WBC bantamweight international fight on Friday (February 24) night and realised that, hang on a second, two women can fight with the same speed, skill, explosive power and grit as two men. And in his world that in itself constituted news. He declared that women’s boxing had finally attainted credibility. And true it was a great fight. One of the best fights, male or female, that we’ve seen on TV lately.
Ramadan was a split points winner adding WBC to her former IBF world title credentials. A close fight makes for a good fight and everyone has an opinion on whether the decision was right or wrong. But actually, the real winners are the fans and lately men’s boxing has been the part of the sport in need of exactly this kind of credibility. Matches have been seriously lopsided. But in this case promoters Barry Michael and Brian Armatruda have been making sure that doesn’t happen on their Melbourne based shows. And the result was a win for the audience, which is exactly the kind of thing that will make the sport grow and flourish. Sport is about competition after all. Fights need to be competitive.
And the women’s fight illustrated this better than any other.
But to say that it brought women’s boxing credibility implies that it was lacking it, which is actually not the case. And isn’t that kind of insulting to all the other local women boxers who Reed hasn’t seen? Women like Nadine Brown, Sarah O’Connell, Sarah Howett, Angie Parr, world champions Erin McGowan and Diana Prazak, Jasmine Ward, Julie Gaston, Sarah George, Shannon O’Connell the list goes on. There are amateurs who have competed internationally and clocked up scores of fights over the past ten years, Claire Ghabrial, Sabrina Ostowari, Kelly McGrath, Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen, Caz Pruden. And there are relative newcomers adding depth to the talent pool. Kaye Scott, Arlene Blencowe, Bianca Elmir, to name just a few. Never mind their antecedents, the incredible Sharon Anyos, a WBC title holder and ’emeritus champion’, Amanda Buchanan and Holly Ferneley who fought out of a state that deemed her sport illegal.
What does Reed even know about these women? I’d hazard a guess at saying that he knows next to nothing. So it might be like me seeing my first ever game of AFL football and declaring it quite an entertaining sport as if this was some kind of a scoop.
Furthermore, let’s give the actual combatants in this fight some due too. Graf and Ramadan came into the ring with more than 20 fights a piece. Graf had been somewhat of a star performer in Germany, where they realised as far back as the 1990s with Regina Halmich, that women’s boxing was worth backing. Who did Ron Reed think these girls were fighting? Graf has been in with some of the stars of her generation. Alicia Ashley for one and Ana Marie Torres. Not that Reed would have any idea who those women are. And Ramadan has put it on the line against Jasmin Rivas in Mexico and has three times defeated world champion kickboxer Michelle Preston. They haven’t exactly been doing Boxacise classes.
So without wanting to sound like a smart Alec I’d like to welcome Ron Reed to the real world, where women have been fighting with all the skill, power, speed and smarts that men have for quite some time now.
Maybe that is news that it’s news to him.