Boxing for women? It's history
Third-year College student Jacqueline Ta made history last month when she competed in the first Women's Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament to be sanctioned by the United States Boxing Association.
Ta, who also competes on the University's tennis team, initially entered the ring last summer as a kickboxer while she was home in Los Angeles. She switched to boxing when she couldn't find a place to kickbox in Chicago, but instead found a place to box -- and a coach, too -- in a North Side gym.
"I wasn't really serious about competing at first," she said. "I did it for exercise. But then I heard about the Golden Gloves tournament and decided to try it."
Ta registered in January for the fight, despite a conflict with the gym's management that temporarily left her without a place to practice. "It was hard because I couldn't get sparring practice before the bout," she said. "Boxing comes down to reflex, so practice is really important."
Registered as a novice, Ta went into the fight prepared to take her licks. "I was nervous," she admitted. "You're up there and about to get beaten up. But one of the reasons I did it is because I am basically afraid of being hit, and I wanted to overcome that fear."
Ta lost the match, but not her resolve to box competitively. "I definitely want to box again," Ta said. "I've never stopped a sport just because I lost a match. I just didn't have enough training. I want to vindicate myself, and I want to get better at boxing. I think it's really hard to improve at a sport without competing."
When she's not boxing or playing tennis, Ta studies political science and works part time as a research assistant in Psychology. She expects to compete in boxing again this spring.