#TBT Throwback Thursday: Women Boxing Make it to the Big Time

It was the final run up to the London Olympic Games and the amateur boxing world was abuzz with anticipation. Women’s boxing was making its debut fielding three weight classes. By contrast, the men in London would have ten.

In 2012, names like Claressa Shields, Franchon Crews and Marlen Esparza were known only to the most knowledgeable of boxing fans. Today they are the first three women boxers to represent the United States at an Olympic competition. Shields and Esparza became the first to medal in the sport.

Prior to the London Olympics, noted photojournalist Sue Jaye Johnson and NY public radio’s Marianne McCune released Go For It: Life Lessons from Girl Boxers. It was their effort to chronicle a year in the lives of women competing for the chance to become one of the first female Olympians in the sport.

The series not only captured the journey for Shields, Crews and Esparza, it also followed the road of the likes of Tiara Brown, Franchon Crews and Mikaela Mayer – an athlete who has served on the USA Boxing Foundation - who trained just as hard for the shot at Olympic glory, only to see their roads end at the national team trials.

Today, these six women are still at the forefront of the sport and part of USA Boxing’s Elite Women’s Team. They are already well into the 2016 Olympic qualifying process. Their Olympic dream continues to live on as some look to return to the Olympic stage and others seek to avenge past disappointment.

Through articles, photographs and podcast interviews, Go For It: Life Lessons from Girl Boxers gives both the engaged boxing fan, and the casual observer, the opportunity to truly appreciate the road to becoming not only an Olympian, but a trailblazer as well.

To turn back the clock, we’ve compiled a few links to help you navigate the series and get a feel of what women’s boxing was like just three short years ago. The links include photos, articles and audio interviews with the participants themselves.

View just a portion of the series and you will understand why USA Boxing and its Foundation remains committed to supporting the growth of women’s boxing at all levels. Your support through even the smallest donation will help USA Boxing to expand its ability to support the sport. It will also fuel the dreams of the next generation who are already planning to become the next Marlen Esparza, Claressa Shields or Queen Underwood.