"CHIN UP, SMILE, AND KICK SOME ASS" - WOMEN IN THE BUSINESS OF BOXING.
“There are still quite a few boxing gyms around that do have knuckleheads training and thinking they’re Ali, but for the most part, the industry is changing”
One of the most common reasons I hear for some women’s reluctance to try boxing is that they don’t want to be intimidated by what they assume is a male dominated sport. However, whilst there certainly are some men that don’t think women should box or do any form of martial arts, most of the fellas are totally down and supportive of women giving any form of self-defence or sport a go. Sure, you might come across some old-school dude raising his eyebrows before smugly remarking ‘oh that’s cute’ (and ohhhh how you want to punch them in the face… violence doesn’t solve anything), but as the great Bobby D once croon-mumbled, the times they are a-changing.
Oh, and it’s also kinda unacceptable nowadays.
From the rise of extremely talented – and mainstream – female fighters in the UFC, to the increasing popularity of the AFLW, women’s BigBash cricket and the Matilda’s impressive involvement in any number of international football competitions (not to mention their equally impressive opponents), we can see these positive changes. But the above are the just the harbingers of this shift in the female stereotype, and a few shining examples of the importance, influence and value of women in sport.
Hell bloody yeah.
Tonia Tetoros is a number of things: brazen and energetic, she is a mother, weight loss specialist, wife of '98 world champion kickboxer Nick Tetoros, Canadian and also the co-owner of a boutique boxing gym in Melbourne called Fitness Ring Boxing. She takes no bullshit. It is this quality that helps Tonia and her clients to achieve a lifestyle most only dream of.
I have the privilege of calling Tonia a friend. Indeed, it was her no-fear approach that pushed me into boxing as a career instead of just a passion in the first place. She is someone who will always tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.
We need people like that in our life.
As a business owner, lover of boxing and a mother, I chatted to Tonia about her career and why boxing is so important to women.
When did you put gloves on for the first time?
I first put gloves on in 2005 when I booked my first personal training session with Nick.
And what was your motivation?
I was in a corporate role, travelling across Australia and highly stressed. I put on weight from all the meals/drinks/outings during meetings and staying at hotels five nights per week. I was miserable, tired, and put had on 6 kg. I was at the stage where I didn’t care anymore and tried to blank it out. My sister in Canada started Kickboxing and was bragging at how awesome it was. She convinced me to give it a try. I actually booked the first session, chickened out and cancelled it. Then I felt worse about myself, so I called Nick a few days later to book again.
How did the training make you feel?
After my first kickboxing session, all I can remember is walking out and feeling like a million bucks. Confident, strong, and very satisfied.
What is the main reason, in your opinion, women might be tentative about boxing training?
Fear of the unknown. They think they’ll walk out with a black eye and a stack of injuries. Which is completely wrong of course. Yes, there are still quite a few boxing gyms around that do have knuckleheads training and thinking they’re Ali, but for the most part, the industry is changing. I remember taking a class 10 years ago at a large well-known gym, I was partnered up with this guy who was trying to throw jabs at my face, not my mitts. He just thought we were there to “fight” and had no idea of the technique, pad work, and skill involved.
As a club owner, what do you see as the major positive results for women who come into train at Fitness Ring?
Confidence. Strength. Stress Relief. Feeling Content.
What are the ages of the ladies who train at Fitness Ring Boxing?
Between 25-40 years old. We also have a few women in their 60’s. We also have teenage girls 14-17 years old who come in for personal training sessions. Their parents are very supportive and love the fact that their daughters can train hard, will learn self-defence, and will gain confidence.
These women in their 60’s, I know them, and I wouldn’t mess with them!
The ladies in their 60’s are serious business. They are retired professionals, mothers, grandmothers who are sick of going on nature walks and stopping off for coffee with their girlfriends. They have vibrant personalities and look after their health and appearance.
If you could teach your daughter (even though you have a beautiful son) about confidence, what would you say?
Confidence is something you have to work at all the time. Fake it until you make it. Chin up, smile, and kick some ass.
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