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Tuesday, 7 April, 1998, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
German women prosper in the ring
Regina Halmich
Regina Halmich gave up her job as a lawyer's clerk to turn professional
Women may be finding it hard to break into the male bastion of boxing in some countries - particularly Britain - but in Germany, female fighters have never had it so good.

There are now 17 female professionals in Germany and one of them, Regina Halmich from Hamburg, is the world flyweight champion.

Regina, who defends her title again next week, has only lost one of her 24 fights - including seven knockouts - and last month she beat Britain's Lisa Horton on points.

Regina on the punchbag
Regina has lost only one of her 24 fights
Her opponent was one of a number of British fighters forbidden from boxing in her home country.

However, this seems bound to change following world welterweight champion Jane Couch's recent victory in a sexual discrimination case.

On the other side of the North Sea, women's boxing has been licensed since the early 1990s and most professional shows now have one or two women's bouts on them.

Although she is a household name in Germany, Regina is offered less money than male fighters because women's boxing attracts smaller audiences.

Regina, 21, gave up a career as a lawyer's clerk four years ago to turn professional and has no regrets.

'Nice girls'

She rejects accusations that boxing makes her less feminine: "We are the best example that you can be a woman and a boxer, too.

Regina and her trainer
Regina has had to work hard to win over the public
"We have a lot of nice girls and they are still women. People must see the fights and then they will like it, I'm sure."

But Andreas Renner, a journalist on Sports Magazine, is not so sure the German public can be won over. "They like women as women and they do not like to see women punching each other on the breasts or the faces.

"They do not like to see blood on women's faces and that is what for most is so unpleasant," he says.

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