Ever been to an all female boxing event? Did you even know that such a thing existed? Well, I didn’t and when I ran across it online, I had to speak with Wanda Bruce. Wanda is a female boxing promoter and CEO of W.I.S.T. —-Women in Support Together. She brought the first All Female Boxing Show to Trenton, NJ and is doing it again in Washington, D.C. this month. She lives by the motto —“If you have something that you do well you do it everyday. If you are bad at something you do it twice a day.”
HHD(HIPHOPDIVA): When did you form W.I.S.T. and what led you to form the organization?
WB (Wanda Bruce): Well, we were formed in 1999. The way that it started, it was supposed to be Women in Support of Tyson. Mike Tyson was coming to Washington, D.C. to try to get a sanction to fight in Washington after he had been rehabilitated and served his jail time. So I formed an organization to go to this press conference to support him because my thing was he had been rehabilitated there wasn’t any reason for us to still stomp on him. Boxing is what it is. He was an intricate part of boxing. So I wanted women to understand let’s forget the crime and support the boxing. I knew it would bring extreme revenue to Washington, D.C. which we were lacking. It would get some people some jobs that they were lacking. After I did that I said, ‘Wow.’ We got a lot of publicity behind it. Our organization was cool and we had a great time doing it. I knew we couldn’t remain as Women in Support of Tyson so I changed the name to Women in Support Together.
HHD: Talk to us about the sport of female boxing. How popular is it? How is the support of female boxing in relation to other sports?
WB: Female boxing is up and coming. It’s on the rise because in 2012 women have been allowed to fight in the Olympics. Now that’s why you’re gonna see a lot of women enter the sport. They actually have a year and a half to get points to be able to be considered for the Olympic team. Prior to that it was a touch and go situation. You may go to the gym you might see one female fighter. Now you can go to the gym you may see five or six. Coaches are going out trying to get a lot more women to come to the gym for that reason. Female boxing isn’t recognized by a lot of men. Now they have no choice but to accept it. Our talent is not as good as it should be with me knowing the overseas talent. The girls over there they eat, sleep, and drink boxing. I notice that we are relaxed in the states with the training, with the discipline. In order for us to achieve the highest goal, we’re gonna have to get it together.
HHD: Why do you think the training isn’t as disciplined with the females as it is with the males?
WB: A lot of times what happens because the females in the United States have no support financially they’re either mothers or have to work and a lot of times with guys they get out and find that support and they just train. It’s the nature of women, we’re always taking care of somebody. We have to work hard on getting the support financially so that these females can dedicate their time to training and don’t have those other things to worry about.
HHD: You and W.I.S.T. were the first to bring an all female boxing event to Trenton, New Jersey. How was the turnout and what kind of feedback did you receive from that?
WB: Great feedback. One thing about the all female shows is that we always get good turnout only because it’s something new and they really put on interesting bouts. First time people seeing it they’re like amazed. Men are just astonished and like ‘Oh my God, women fight like us.’
HHD: For young girls interested in boxing what should they do to receive the proper education, training, and support?
WB: They should look online for a gym that’s in their area. They should go to the gym with their parents if they’re younger than 18. They should interview with the trainer. The things they wanna know are: how many national champions have they made; how many female fighters have they trained; to what level is their training license; what’s their education in boxing; have they ever boxed. Once they get the trainer and they work with them they’ll be able to recognize if this is someone who cares about them or wants to just throw them in the ring. If there’s lack of education get away from that trainer.
HHD: You have an all female amateur boxing event coming up in Washington, D.C. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
WB: It’s August 14th. We usually have 15 to 16 bouts at every show.
To get more information on Wanda Bruce, W.I.S.T., and her all female amateur boxing events visit www.fightlady.org