Blog #225 10/3/17
Brooke “No Mercy” Dierdorff
During the six years I studied and photographed championship boxing, published as a large photographic book by Sports Illustrated Books:
AT THE FIGHTS: INSIDE THE WORLD OF PROFESSIONAL BOXING
I attended many dozens of boxing “shows” photographing usually at ringside.
The most noteworthy bouts were at Madison Square Garden though I experienced fights in small clubs all over the Northeast since I wanted to know about and photograph the full spectrum of “the sweet science,” from the champions at the top, competing for big money, and the hopefuls down the pecking (or punching) order, fighting to establish a reputation.
The usual schedule, “The Card,” included seven to ten matches and began at about 7:00 p.m. The earlier matches usually involved newly professional or somewhat inexperienced boxers with records that looked something like: Wins 1, Losses 0. Later contests might pit fighters with 8 wins (3 KOs) and 4 losses (2 KO’s). The featured “championship” match between name boxers was scheduled last and often began after 11:00 p.m.
About half of the time, a middle bout on the card would match women boxers. Much as I am intrigued and fascinated by the sport of boxing, these bouts between women disturbed me greatly. Watching, seeing the bloody brutality of one woman pounding away at another woman and being hit in return was so troubling to me that after witnessing a few of these matches I usually left my coveted spot at ringside to stretch, get a soft drink and a snack, returning only when the match was over and the next one (between men) was about to begin.
Boxing is barbarous enough; to see women engage in it made me feel that they were victims of some strange quirk of our modern culture.
Nevertheless, the women were serious athletes, fearless and compelling in the ring.
I did what I was there to do: I made photographs.
Sonya Lamonakis, after three rounds.
Anna Ingman, after five rounds
Cimberly “Kim” Harris, just lost a 5 round fight.
Before-and-after portrait (a wife and mother, no less).
Eileen “The Hawaiian Mongoose” Olszewski
Capturing the post-fight reactions on hearing the announcement of the winner and loser showed the emotional highs and lows as much as the bouts themselves.
Elena “Baby Doll” Reid
I’ll not be concerned if I never see women box again.