Boxing: Gloves are on for the girls

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Schools amateur boxing will soon be able to open its doors to female participation. Girls keen to wear gloves at the grass roots of the sport will be permitted to try their luck from October according to Chris Andrews, chairman of the National Schools' Boxing Association, which stages its jubilee championships at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre on 22 March.

"The recreational schemes we hold are very popular among girls and there is absolutely no reason why girls cannot participate as fully as boys,'' Andrews said.

"The ABA, a member of the international boxing community, has gone along with national requirement that girls should be allowed to box competitively with effect from next October.

``Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. Firstly there must be a good deal of preparation to be done through the rules and regulations that apply. Secondly there must be a sufficient number of women who want to box.

"At the risk of being chauvinistic, there are a lot of people in boxing who have some reservations. But if women want to box and medically there is no reason why they shouldn't box, they should be allowed to do so.''

Women in ring combat is a concept which is certainly gaining a professional profile in America. Britain has two women world champions: Jane Couch at welterweight and Cheryl Robertson at bantamweight.