Boxing: Brown beats Winter to end wait for sanctioned title

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The Independent Online

After seven years as a professional, Cathy Brown finally won a title sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control last night at York Hall, Bethnal Green. Brown, aged 36, beat Juliette Winter over 10 rounds to claim the board's English flyweight title in what can only be described as a brawl. Brown also gained revenge for a close points defeat three years ago. Women have been boxing in Britain legally since 1998, when Jane Couch went to court to win the right to fight, but Brown's victory was the first time that the men who control British boxing had sanctioned a title fight.

"It has been a long and difficult career, and I think that I'm finished now, because I'm not sure how much more punishment my body can take," said Brown.

Before last night's opening bell there were many at ringside who thought that Brown, who was fighting for the 21st time, had simply been on the scene far too long, and that Winter was so much fresher, and therefore started as favourite.

However, Brown has been forced to learn her trade overseas in hard fights against local champions, and it was her experience over the longer distance that counted. If Brown does decide to finally walk away from the sport, there is every chance that she will start coaching, and there is talk of her touring the country in an effort to attract more female boxers.

Last night, over 1,300 people at York Hall gave her and Winter the type of standing ovation that many men go through their entire career without hearing.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night at the Isleta Casino near Albuquerque, Couch lost over 10 rounds in a challenge for the IBA Women's Light Welterweight title to Holly Holm. It was the seventh time that Couch, aged 38, has lost in a title fight overseas.