MEN have been competing in boxing in the Olympics for 104 years.
And finally, after decades of campaigning, women’s boxing has been allowed into the Games for the first time ever, at London 2012.
Team GB medallist Nicola Adams nearly gave up fighting two years ago as she was struggling to make ends meet.
But the sport has been boosted by its inclusion in the Games and won itself a whole new Army of fans.
Paul David, a personal trainer, taekwondo instructor and boxing trainer, based at De Vere and Hardknocks Gym in Poulton, welcomes the move.
He has been teaching boxing classes, including padwork, bagwork and sparring, in the ring, for around a decade.
He said: “I am really excited to see women’s boxing in the Olympics for the first time.
“It’s about education, as well as exercise. Boxing’s great for sculpting and toning the figure.
“It helps boost confidence, it’s fantastic all-round mind and body exercise.
“It’s good for improving coordination and reducing stress levels, with that burst of endorphins you get.
“I hope the Olympics boosts the profile of women’s boxing and shows it is for everyone, women shouldn’t feel intimidated to take part.”
Joanne Hicks, 41, from Poulton, has been boxing for 10 years.
She decided to start after seeing a boxing class, being taken by Paul, through the window while she was at the gym.
“Paul is a great trainer and makes the class for everyone, of all ages, of all abilities.
“It’s brilliant fitness training, it keeps your body trim and means I don’t have bingo wings.
“It’s a great social thing too, because, you meet new people in classes. We do things like go out for meals for birthdays of class members.
“I am loving seeing women’s boxing in the Olympics, hopefully it might help raise the profile.”
Prof Kinta Beaver, from Staining, has also been boxing for more than 10 years.
The 51-year-old had grown bored of the usual aerobics and fitness classes on offer in the gym and wanted to try a more challenging workout.
She now does boxing classes two to three times a week and taekwondo twice a week.
She said: “I think it’s amazing to now see women’s boxing in the Olympics, but it’s taken too long. I think attitudes are changing though.
“Boxing’s a great reliever of stress, after a long day at work.
“You can really feel it improving your levels of fitness – in terms of stamina and strength and technique.
“Boxing helps improve reaction times and your coordination too. It’s not Boxercise we do, it’s the real deal.
“It really does make a difference to your fitness levels and increases your confidence too.”
And Angela Armstrong, from Marton, has been taking part in boxing classes for just over a year.
The 47-year-old said: “It has so many benefits, it makes you stronger, mentally and physically.
“The exercise and fitness regime you have to follow on boxing is very technical, very intensive training.
“With the sparring, it helps with things like reactions and foot speed and agility.
“It boosts your confidence and it makes you toughen up a bit. It builds your stamina. It’s great and it’s brilliant seeing it in the Olympics.”
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