Girl boxing

The performance project Girl boxing was realized during the exhibition Stylized acts (2008). Martin gave the place to a group of 6 year old girls for her warming up training followed by a sparring match at the opening of the Exhibition.

'Women’s boxing has never been an easy sell. The first female boxer dates back to 1722, when Elizabeth Wilkinson challenged Hannah Hyfield to a bout through an ad she placed in the London Journal: “I, Elizabeth Wilkinson, of Clerkenwell, having had some words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring Satisfaction, do invite her to meet me on the Stage and Box me.” It was around the same time that men’s boxing was being promoted as a barroom spectacle. For six years, Hyfield fought both men and women professionally, wearing “close jackets, short petticoats, coming just below the knee, Holland drawers, white stockings and pumps,” according to the same newspaper advertisements. In the late 1800s, Nell Saunders and Rose Harland fought the first women’s boxing match in the United States; the prize was a silver butter dish. Twenty-five years later, in 1904, boxing made its debut as an Olympic sport in St. Louis — men’s boxing was admitted as a competitive sport, but women’s boxing was limited to exhibition bouts. By the late 1970s and into the early ’80s, women’s boxing was resurrected.

Some of the first women to be licensed for boxing in the United States were Marian Trimiar, known as Lady Tyger, and Jackie Tonawanda; Cathy Davis, known as Cat, appeared as the first female boxer on the cover of The Ring magazine in 1978. Their efforts were overshadowed by rumors of match-fixing that pretty much shut down any serious competition. Davis once told me in an interview that the bouts may have been fixed, but it didn’t mean they weren’t working hard athletically or even real boxers. But their reputations as athletes were tarnished in the public eye. It took a few more decades for another push into women’s professional boxing: In the early aughts, Christy Martin, Laila Ali and Ann Wolfe briefly captured mainstream attention. That petered out in 2001 after the first pay-per-view fight with female headliners — it seemed like the whole enterprise rested on famous last names.'

Women Have Been Boxing in the Shadows for Too Long by Jaime Lowe   (AUG. 15, 2016)