Ronda Rousey Is Inspiring a Boxing Legend to Stand up for Female Athletes

August 22nd 2015

Ivan Fernandez

Boxing legend Sugar Shane Mosley will step out of retirement for a second time later this month when he is scheduled to face Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The fighter from Lynwood’s return to boxing, however, is not the only reason why he is making headlines. Instead, he is in the news because of a larger fight he has that same night: that of the sport’s disrespect to its female athletes.

“It’s an embarrassment to boxing that UFC and MMA show more respect to their woman fighters than the boxing world does, and it’s about time we caught up,” said Mosley in a news release. The statement is a direct reference not only to UFC sensation Ronda Rousey but also to UFC’s and MMA’s continued support of its female athletes, but especially in recent times.

Unlike boxing, UFC and MMA regularly feature their female competitors in action including in heavily-watched, pay-per-view matches. UFC has, in fact, already given its Woman’s Bantamweight Championship title holder Ronda Rousey two headlining slots this year when she successfully defended her title against Cat Zingano this past February and most recently against Bethe Correia on August 1.

Mosley’s response to these developments was quick. Days after Rousey’s stunning performance against Correia, he announced that his independent PPV boxing event, Mosley – Mayorga II, would feature a bout between two female boxers. Maureen Shea, the IFBA World Super Bantamweight Champion, will square off against the IBF’s World Female Bantamweight Champion Yulihan Alejandra Luna Avila.

Shea has been known as the “Real Million Dollar Baby” since 2004, when she and her trainer Hector Roca trained and prepared actress Hilary Swank for her role as a boxer in Million Dollar Baby. She boasts a 24-2 record with 12 KOs (knock outs), 7 of those were in her first 13 fights, while her opponent will enter the ring with a 12-2 record and just 1 KO.

Mosley is the first boxing promoter in over a decade to feature a women’s title fight on pay-per-view. The last title fight between two female boxers on a PPV took place on June 11, 2005 in an undercard at the Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride fight when Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, who defeated Erin Toughill for the first-ever World Boxing Council women’s title.

“I am ready for war these days and I don’t care what kind of blocks they try and put up: I am making a stand,” said Mosley. “It’s time somebody stood up and demanded things change.”