Anyos fights a new battle

SO AUSTRALIA has a new world boxing champion.

Gold Coaster Sharon Anyos won the women's version of WBC Featherweight title on Saturday against Argentina's Marcela Acuna.

Will she be a 'Million Dollar Baby'? According to the judges Anyos won a hardfought decision. It was hardfought all right; her face was a disfigured pulp. As with men's boxing, the girl's version has critics and the state of Anyos's face at the end of the bout will proba- bly add fuel to the fire. I'm not sure if criticism is based on the grounds of health, aesthetics or tradition, but it has been effective because women's boxing has struggled for identity and acceptance.

In recent years the sport has enjoyed more of the spotlight.

This has been due, in part, to the high profile of Laila Ali, daughter of the great Muhammad Ali. Laila sold out a Las Vegas Casino when she pounded out a decision over Jackie Frazier ? yep, Smokin' Joe's daughter. Prior to Laila Ali, America saw high profile boxers such as Lucia Reijker, Christy Martin and Mia St John.

St John was a huge hit with the fans. Given that her previous career was as a Penthouse centrefold girl.

Whereas Martin and Reijker are due to meet in the ring for a $1m purse. Given those dollars, it would seem that the sport has arrived.

Whether people like or dislike women competing in combat sports is regardless. It is here to stay. I don't recall anybody bagging Australia's Lauren Burns when she won Tae-Kwon-Do gold at the Sydney Olympics. I wonder why?

It may not appeal to all, but women's boxing is about skill, and fitness. The odd facial injury is no different to those suffered in men's boxing or football matches.

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