Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Sunday, November 22, 1998 Published at 17:24 GMT


Sport

Striking a blow for women

Jane Couch had to go to an industrial tribunal to win the right to fight

Britain's first fight between two women boxers takes place on Wednesday.

Jane Couch, otherwise known as The Fleetwood Assassin, takes on Germany's Simone Lukic at Caesar's nightclub in Streatham, south London.

Despite being the reigning Women's International Boxing Federation (WIBF) world welterweight champion, Couch has never fought professionally in the UK.

Earlier this year she took the British Boxing Board of Control to an industrial tribunal after they refused to grant her a licence to fight.

Sexually discriminated against

In August the tribunal found the board guilty of sexual discrimination and she was finally awarded a licence.

Four years ago, after watching a documentary about Irish boxer Deidre Gogarty, Couch set out to make her name in the tough world of women's boxing.

Couch, who admits having had her fair share of street fights in her native Fleetwood, Lancashire, had to go abroad to do it.

In her very first fight the former sweet factory worker beat Sandra Geiger of France to win the WIBF title in 1996.

Geiger ended up in hospital with a broken nose, a fractured hand and several broken ribs.

Disciplined way of life

Couch says the fighter's lifestyle suits her well and has changed her from a wild and unfocused drinker and drug-taker to a fit, clean-living and disciplined individual.

She hopes other British girls will follow her example but warns: "It's a very dangerous sport and if girls are going to do it, they're going to have to do it correctly."

The 30-year-old is trained on a farm outside Bristol by Tex Woodward.

He told BBC News Online: "She's in very good shape for this fight."

Woodward said: "Wherever she goes people know Jane. She's very popular, especially in the North West.

"If she fought up there she would fill the Blackpool Tower."

Non-title contest

Under WIBF rules both fighters must take pregnancy tests before Wednesday's fight and a positive result for either lady would force her to pull out.

Couch's title is not on the line - the pair will contest six two-minute rounds rather than the usual eight in a WIBF title bout - but she is fighting for a purse of £5,000.

It may be a paltry amount - Mike Tyson earns that much lacing up one glove - but it is a watershed.

Women's boxing is well developed in the US where the big-hitting Christy Martin earns hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting for Don King.

But Couch's problem is getting the big UK promoters - Frank Warren, Frank Maloney, Barry Hearn - to put her on their shows.

So far all have baulked. Maloney told BBC News Online: "Women should stay in the kitchen, or in the bedroom."

I bet he would not say that to Jane Couch.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Sport Contents


Relevant Stories

14 Aug 98†|†Talking Point
Should women be allowed to box? Your reaction

14 Aug 98†|†Sport
Women boxers win UK licence

07 Apr 98†|†Sport
German women prosper in the ring

13 Feb 98†|†Sport
Boxing 'fears death of woman fighter'





Internet Links


Women's International Boxing Federation

Women's boxing on the Web


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Collins calls it a day for Scots

Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

Christie could get two-year ban

From Health
Footballers 'receive poor medical care'

Plucky England hang around

Derby double swoop fails

European Cup starts with a bang

Spain maintain narrow lead

From Special Report
Keegan accused over late night

The next Battle of Britain

McIlroy tipped for NI role

Saqlain stars in Aussie collapse

White Rose rivals meet again

Keane talks to resume

League to rule on Sky shares

From Special Report
We'll be back for World Cup - Brown

From Special Report
Cheers and tears for Scotland

From Special Report
Keegan insists England can triumph

Solanki breathes life into draw

From Special Report
I've rarely seen anything worse

From Special Report
An almost unbelievable turnaround

Milestone for McGrath against Pakistan

Faldo's caddie dumps her bag

Irish to appeal after brawl

British Rally route and maps