It was not too long ago that women’s boxing was viewed very much as an amateur and unpopular sport.

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    Outdated views held by boxing fans in general, ensured that female fighters prior to the 2000s, remained on the fringes of sport. Barely recognised within their own sport and unrecognisable out of it.

    Yet since London 2012, when women’s boxing appeared in the Olympic Games after a 108-year hiatus, the status of women’s boxing has increased markedly.

    Nowadays, we have had female fighters topping the bill at Madison Square Gardens, others have headlined pay-per-view events and the interest in female boxing at the Olympics remains very high.

    Head over to bet365 Sport now and check out the list of boxing matches you can bet on, and you will find an increasing number of female fights priced up for you alongside the male bouts.

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    What Has Driven The Sharp Increase In Popularity of Women’s Boxing?

    It is fair to say that women’s boxing has rightfully earned the same level of respectability as men’s boxing, both at Olympic and also at professional level.

    So, what has driven this marked change in attitude?

    Some may put it down to changes in attitude as women drive for equality across society. However, there is more to it than that.

    The truth is, this is a boom time in women’s boxing because there are a significant number of fantastically talented fighters competing against each other across the weight divisions.

    And these fighters are now being given the exposure, TV time and coverage that fighters of the past were never afforded.

    It is that combination which is driving women’s boxing forward.

    So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the women, past and present, who either laid the foundations, or built upon them, to make women’s boxing what it is today.

    Women’s Boxing Legends – Past & Present

    Heroes of the Past

    • Jane Couch (GB) – Lightweight/Light-welterweight, 39 fights, 29 wins (9 KO), 11 losses

    The first female professional boxer in the UK, Couch had to overcome a huge number of obstacles put in front of her by the British Boxing Board of Control and the British Medical Association to turn professional, but did so in 1998.

    Now a boxing promoter, the Fleetwood Assassin won the IWBF Light Welterweight title on four occasions and laid the foundations for a new generation of female boxers in the UK.

    • Laila Ali (USA) – Super-middleweight/Light heavyweight, 24 fights, 24 wins (21 KO)

    The daughter of Muhammed Ali, Laila Ali retired a two-weight world champion and undefeated with a reputation as one of the best female boxers of all time.

    Ali also won the first pay-per-view main event for women boxers when defeating Joe Frazier’s daughter Jacqui Frazier-Lyde in a majority verdict in June 2001.

    Just as in men’s boxing, the name Ali is regarded amongst the very best of all-time.

    The London 2012 – Golden Girl Trio

    At the 2012 London Olympic Games, there were three weight classes in women’s boxing. And the three gold medallists have gone on to become some of the icons of boxing in the modern era.

    • Nicola Adams (GB) – Flyweight – 6 fights, 5 wins (3 KO), 1 draw, 2 Olympic Gold Medals (2012, 2016), 8 Major Amateur Tournament Wins

    Now retired, the double Olympic Champion had a short but unbeaten professional career but it was in the amateur ranks where she won every major Amateur title at least once, where Nicola Adams shone.

    Adams suffered a torn pupil in her last fight, a defence of her WBO World Championship, and was forced to retire in 2019. She was awarded an MBE in 2013 and an OBE in 2017.

    • Katie Taylor (Ireland) – Lightweight/Super-Lightweight – 23 fights, 22 wins (6 KO), 1 loss, 1 Olympic Gold (2012), 18 Major Amateur Tournament Wins

    Rated as the best pound-for-pound female boxer by The Ring and BoxRec, Katie Taylor is only one of eight boxers, male or female, to have held all four Major world titles in a weight division in professional boxing, WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO, at the same time.

    Her bout with Amanda Serrano in April 2022 was the first to headline at Madison Square Garden and was billed as the ‘biggest women’s fight of all time’. Taylor won a split decision victory but in May this year she suffered her first defeat to Chantelle Cameron for her six Light-welterweight titles.

    • Claressa Shields (USA) – Light Middleweight/Middleweight/Super Middleweight – 14 fights, 14 wins (2 KO), 2 Olympic Gold Medals (2012, 2016), 5 Major Amateur Tournament Wins

    Arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at present, Claressa Shields is a multi-belt world champion in three weight-classes. Additionally. in an incredible professional and amateur career, she was beaten only once (by Savannah Marshall) in 65 fights.

    She is the only boxer, male or female, to hold all four major world titles in two weight divisions at the same time.

    Other Current Female Boxing Superstars

    • Savannah Marshall (UK) – Middleweight/ Super Middleweight – 14 fights, 13 wins (10 KO), 1 loss, 2 Major Amateur Title Wins

    The only boxer to defeat Claressa Shields as an amateur, Marshall lost the rematch as a pro last year but is very much back in the picture as Shield’s only real rival and a rematch between the two looks likely.

    • Jessica McCaskill (USA) – Lightweight/ Light welterweight/ Welterweight – 15 fights, 12 wins (5 KO), 3 losses

    Famous for her wins as WBA and WBC light welterweight champion over Cecilia Braekhus, McCaskill lost her belts in her last fight to Chantelle Cameron. Despite this, she is still rated the third best female boxer in the world pound-for-pound by BoxRec and fourth by The Ring.

    • Chantelle Cameron (UK) – Super Featherweight/ Lightweight/ Light-welterweight – 18 fights, 18 wins (8 KO)

    Il Capo was a late bloomer in boxing, only switching to the sport aged 18 and she only turned pro in 2017. Despie that she became the UK’s first undisputed female boxing world champion when beating Jessica McCaskill in November 2022, and then handed Katie Taylor her first defeat as a professional in her last bout in Dublin back in May.

    • Natasha Jonas (UK) – Super Featherweight/ Lightweight/ Light-Middleweight – 16 fights, 13 wins (8 KO), 2 losses, 1 draw.

    Jonas failed to medal at the 2012 Olympics and after a stuttering start to her pro career, including a defeat to Katie Taylor in 2021, she has won her last four bouts and in doing so picked up three world titles at three different weights in the process.

    • Alycia Baumgardner (USA) – Super Featherweight – 15 fights, 14 wins (7 KO), 1 loss, 1 Major Amateur Tournament Win

    The current undisputed super featherweight champion of the world will defend her titles against the only boxer to beat her, Christina Linardatou, in July 2023 in what should be an intriguing contest.

    • Amanda Serrano (Puerto Rico) – Super Flyweight/ Bantamweight/ Super Bantamweight/ Featherweight/ Super Featherweight/ Lightweight/ Light welterweight – 47 fights, 44 wins (30 KO), 2 losses, 1 draw

    One of the legends of women’s boxing, Serrano is a 9-time world champion across seven different weight-classes, and is ranked third pound-for-pound by BoxRec and TheRing. She remains the undisputed featherweight World Champion will take on Heather Hardy in August 2023.

    • Marlen Esparza (USA) – Flyweight – 14 fights, 13 wins (1 KO), 1 loss, 1 Olympic Bronze (2012). 1 Major Amateur Tournament Win

    The current WBC, WBA and The Ring female flyweight title holder, Esparza’s only loss came due to an accidental clash of heads which left her with a cut and unable to continue. She is the star attraction in a highly competitive flyweight division.

    • Caroline Dubois (UK) – Super-Bantamweight – 6 fights, 6 wins (5 KO), Youth Olympic Gold Medalist (2018)

    Younger sister of heavyweight Daniel, Caroline Dubois is making a big name for herself at Super-Bantamweight with 5 KO wins in 6 fights. She’s won World and Olympic gold at Youth level and was a five-time European Champion as an amateur too.

    With more stars such as Micaela Lujan (22) at junior bantamweight, Oshae Jones (24) at welterweight/ junior middleweight, Ema Kozin (23) at middleweight/light heavyweight, Gabriel Fundora (19) at flyweight, the future for the sport looks bright.