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The BBC to broadcast first-ever live professional women’s boxing fight with ‘Women of Steel’

BBC are ‘set to broadcast their first-ever professional women’s boxing event next month as part of four-bout card in Sheffield’ – as fight officials reap rewards of spiked interest after Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph

  •  BBC to show professional women’s boxing live for the first time ever next month
  • Women of Steel event will be screened on BBC iPlayer with four female fights 
  •  Move follows huge spike in interest in women’s sport after England’s Euros win 

The BBC are set to broadcast their first-ever professional women’s boxing fight next month, when they show ‘Women of Steel’ fight night live on BBC iPlayer. 

The four-fight female card takes place on October 7 in Sheffield and is under the banner of Unified Promotions, launched in 2021 by British businesswomen Susannah Schofield, one of the first boxing promoters licensed by the British Board of Control.

Lauren Parker will headline the event, when she takes on Mexico’s Esmerelda Sagahon for the vacant IBO Intercontinental title. The card also includes 2018 Commonwealth Games 48kg silver medalist Kristina O’Hara McCafferty. 

The BBC will screen the Women of Steel event from Sheffield headlined by Lauren Parker (left)

According to The Telegraph, the BBC will screen the Women of Steel event alongside three short documentaries as part of it’s first-ever non-amateur women’s fight to be shown on the channel. 

The move comes after the huge success of England’s Lionesses winning the European Championships in July, with the final drawing a peak audience of 17.million. 

The general secretary of the Boxing Board Robert Smith is pleased that boxing is benefitting from the rise in interest of women’s sport.

‘The BBC showing boxing is fantastic,’ Smith said. ‘That they are showing this level of interest in women’s boxing has to be applauded. We are very high up in the world in quality now and it is beginning to resonate.

Nicola Adams was one of the catalysts for women's boxing after her win at the 2012 Olympics

Nicola Adams was one of the catalysts for women’s boxing after her win at the 2012 Olympics 

‘The catalyst was the London Olympic Games with women’s boxing being included for the first time and it is now resonating from the profile with the likes of Katie Taylor, Natasha Jonas, Nicola Adams plus Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields. As a sport we are now reaping the benefits a decade on. More and more women are being licensed and more young girls are being encouraged to take up the sport.’

In May the BBC ended a 17-year hiatus in broadcasting live professional boxing when the showed a Welsh Championship bout from Swansea, and if next month’s event is successful they could look at a series of shows next year on BBC3.  

United Promotions’ Schofield and her CEO Richard Poxen, are intent on revolutionising boxing for women and are delighted with the news of BBC’s live coverage. 

 ‘We’ve had some incredible athletes emerge from the Olympics and elite amateurs, but then there’s a major gap. We are going to create a gateway for women to thrive in this sport, where the focus is on them,’ she said.

There has been a huge rise in interest in women's sport after England's Euro 2020 win in July

There has been a huge rise in interest in women’s sport after England’s Euro 2020 win in July

 ‘We want to bring eyes to women’s boxing, normalise it, and change perception. It has been nine months of discussion with the BBC and we are delighted that our boxers will be given the platform to showcase their excellence.

‘The BBC hasn’t shown boxing for a very long time, so I feel very humbled and honoured to be able to put a pilot on for them and see where it goes. There are exciting times ahead. The BBC [showing fights] will help normalise women’s boxing. We want to make sure that women get fairly paid and to make sure that we offer, as I say, a place of wellbeing and safeguarding for those sports, so to be able to normalise that on such a platform is exciting.’

The Women of Steel event will take place a week before Sky Sports screen a historic 10-fight all-women’s card from London and Schofield believes there now is a huge momentum behind the sport.

‘With our event breaking new ground and the 10-women fight card with arguably four of the leading women in the world on that card – Savannah, Claressa, Alycia Baumgardner and Michaela Mayer – we are celebrating a special time. ‘She added. 

‘There is momentum now and the more eyeballs we can get on this sport, the more perception will shift.’

Alycia Baumgardner will take on Michaele Mayer as Sky Sports screen a 10-fight female card from London a week after BBC's historic screening

Alycia Baumgardner will take on Michaele Mayer as Sky Sports screen a 10-fight female card from London a week after BBC’s historic screening  

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