Most Influential Female Boxers, Prior to 1985

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Most Influential Female Boxers, Prior to 1985

Key Takeaways

Introduction

The most influential female boxers, active in 1985 or before include Cora Webber, Dora Webber, Toni Lear Rodriguez, and Baby Bear James. They are considered to have been the 1970s female trailblazers in boxing.

Findings:

Cora Webber, Dora Webber, Toni Lear Rodriguez, and Baby Bear James are considered to have been the 1970s female trailblazers in boxing. Their pioneer-status, awarded titles, exemplary boxing records, and contributions to the female boxing space makes them influential.

Baby Bear James aka "Tansy O'Brien"

  • Baby Bear James, aka "Tansy O'Brien" was one of the top female boxers globally to fight professionally from 1976 to 1978.
  • As at 1978 on her 21st birthday, her boxing record was 5-2-1 (5KO). She is currently 64 years old. (21+(2021-1978)=64)
  • She originally came from Cheltenham, England, and weighed 180 lbs. at the time.
  • Baby Bear James paved the road for other female boxers in many aspects as a pioneer fighter with many "firsts" in the sport, such as becoming a female boxing referee. She may have been the first to ever ref in the United States.

Leah Rodriguez

  • Toni Rodriguez originally from USA, began her fighting career as a welterweight around 1976.
  • She eventually dropped about 20 pounds and transitioned to the featherweight division.
  • She then went on to fight for the sanctioned World Champion featherweight division against Baby Bear in 1979, where she was named the Featherweight World Champion in Boxing Illustrated's April 1979 issue.
  • Rodriguez has fought other pioneer fighters such as Laurie Holt.

Cora and Dora Webber

  • Cora and Dora Webber, who are originally from USA, were the only set of twins to enter the sport of professional boxing.
  • They are currently 63 years old.
  • Cora Webber, the eldest of the twins began boxing in 1979, while still in her teens, while Dora began boxing five years later, quickly gaining notoriety for her skills and abilities.
  • Early in their boxing careers, both Cora and Dora fought Leah Rodriguez and won.
  • After Cora's first bout with Rodriguez, she went on to be unstoppable, winning fight after fight, eventually winning the California State Title at one point. She was ranked #1 in the Lightweight Division globally in 1984.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To provide information regarding 3 – 4 of the most influential female boxers, active in 1985 or before, we read through boxing news platforms, sports analysis websites, athletes databases and women boxing archives. However, after an extensive search through sources two years old and below, we encountered a scarcity of data on female boxers in the 1970s and 1980s. We therefore elected to expand the time period and search through older sources. The sources identified allowed for the identification of trailblazers and influential female boxers active in 1985 and before.
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