In every boxing video game I’ve ever played, I get totally pummeled. Maybe it’s because I jump right in, using the controller to punch and kick with little to no plan. In the Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank’s character learns one of the best punches you can deliver involves stepping back. It’s about patience and control. I can’t help but think that’s a great lesson to apply to life too. Maybe saying yes immediately isn’t the right call. Maybe snapping back at someone won’t help you get your point across. Today, whatever battle you’re up against, approach it as if you’re in the ring. Take a breath. Step back. Anticipate. Then pointedly make your move.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 1722
Some fierce ladies bring their prowess to fisticuffs in the actual boxing ring. In fact, women have been showing their sparring gallantry in the sport of boxing since the 1700s! In 1722, the first female boxer made her mark. Elizabeth Wilkinson, wanting to settle some cross words, challenged Hannah Hyfield to a boxing match with an ad in The London Journal. How very 18th century of her! Hannah responded, assuring Elizabeth she’d have “more blows than words” to offer. But Elizabeth, apparently a skilled fighter, won handily. Fast-forward to the late 1800s. That’s when the first official women’s boxing match was held in the United States, with the prize being, of course, a silver butter dish.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Alicia "The Empress" Napoleon, Professional Boxer and Trainer
It’s no surprise women’s boxing proved to be a tough sell. I dare say when people hear women are taking part in any sport, they often have a critical opinion. But today’s Woman to Watch, Alicia Napoleon, is proving that when it comes to duking it out, women are no lightweights.
A professional boxer and trainer—and a totally mind-blowing gladiator—Alicia, aka “The Empress,” won 10 amateur titles before taking her game pro. She’s now aiming for a world title, a lofty goal we’re sure she’ll spar her way to accomplishing.
Alicia has long had a passion for competing, and as a woman in sports, has faced plenty of discrimination and chauvinism. When she was a kid, she wanted to be a professional baseball player. At just 5 years old, people squashed Alicia’s dreams, saying she couldn’t play because she’s a girl. Undaunted, this determined gal became a young baseball sensation and, as a girl among boy players, was the only one to hit home runs. Take that, spiteful skeptics!
Even though she killed it at the sport, Alicia faced constant criticism about her body, combating disparaging nicknames like “Thunder Thighs” and “Big Al.” Again, Alicia brushed off the haters, and kept on kicking butt.
Alicia started her boxing training at 18, inspired by her belief that fear shouldn’t control her actions or goals. She calls fear a “toxic emotion,” something that can consume you if you don’t fight it. And if there’s one thing Alicia is definitely great at, it’s fighting!
When she isn’t in the ring beating her opponents to the punch, Alicia shares her mastery of the sport at Overthrow Boxing in New York City, where she trains everyone from celebs like supermodel Adriana Lima and Britney Spears to spunky 6-year-olds, all in an effort to empower and transform women and girls.
Emotional well-being makes for a successful athlete, so to fuel her creativity, Alicia also paints, employing her imagination to fashion large-scale canvases with vibrant colors and bold characteristics. Whether Alicia is sporting a paintbrush or packing a punch, it’s fair to say this empress is all about delivering a knockout!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s inspiring quote comes from bang-up former pro boxer Laila Ali, who said:
“Being a strong, fearless woman makes me feel beautiful.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.