When I got the promoter’s email today I nearly had a heart attack. I am going to be boxing in Atlanta as the Main Event on the April 23, 2011 Atlanta Corporate Fight Night card.
The Main Event!
I’ve been in conversation with the promoter for a month or so about this fight, but it’s a shock seeing my name listed at the top of the card. It’s so incredibly rare to see women headlining any boxing event (that’s why I was so excited about Alicia “Slick” Ashley headlining Maureen Shea’s card in NYC a couple of weeks ago). I have no illusions, of course, that it has much to do with me — it’s my opponent who is the real draw — but still! The Main Event. Oh, and get this: there are two guys who are listed underneath as the “co-main,” heh. Bit of a reversal from the ordinary state of things in the boxing world.
I attribute this entirely to the indefatigable boxing promoter and force of nature Terri “The Boss” Moss, who is once again bringing her glitzy, cocktails-and-little-black-dress corporate boxing event to the forefront of the Atlanta scene. Moss is utterly familiar with old-school boxing traditions — this Strawweight World Champion had to break through plenty of them in her five year, 18 fight professional boxing career. And she’s no stranger to “firsts,” holding the Guinness World Record for being the oldest woman to win a professional boxing world championship. Alongside her business partner and former trainer Xavier Biggs, she runs the Decatur Boxing Gym where she will be training all of the women (with the exception of me and my opponent) who will be fighting on the card.
My opponent will be Aussie national amateur boxing champion Mischa Merz, who is the real reason women’s boxing fans around the globe will be keeping a sharp eye on this fight event. Merz started boxing in 1998, enjoying a very successful four years of competition. She wrote a book called Bruising about her experiences learning to box.
In 2009 she began boxing again, this time in the Master’s division, and has won all of her fights so far, including the National Women’s Golden Gloves, the Georgia Games championship and the Ringside World championship. Her second book The Sweetest Thing: A Boxer’s Memoir will be released this spring.
Am I crazy to accept an invitation to box this woman?
Of course I am. But you knew that.
Here’s the truth. Women boxers aren’t a dime a dozen. We aren’t just littering every sidewalk like autumn leaves after a hard rain. This is even more true of those of us boxing after 35, which is where the Master’s division begins.
I’ve been in the ring for almost two years now. True, I only have one official amateur fight, one exhibition fight, and zip all else. But I’ve had an incredible trainer and she believes I can do this. Hell, I believe I can do this. Why else am I pouring hours of sweat, beaten leather, and ice packs into boxing, if not for this?
I’m honored to have been invited to fight by Terri Moss. I’m thrilled and terrified to be going glove-to-glove with a heavily titled, undefeated national champion. I am eager to meet this world-travelling boxer, author, and journalist. My trainer won’t be able to go, but I went to Atlanta last time alone, and the Decatur Boxing Club people went above and beyond in their hospitality. Plus, the post-fight pina coladas were the best I’ve ever had.
I wouldn’t miss this for the world.