Flint, Michigan’s Claressa Shields continues her dominance as the best amateur female boxer at 75kg. She became the first US boxer male or female to repeat as a gold medalist as she defeated Netherlands’s Nouchka Fontijn Sunday in an unanimous decision in the 75kg finals at the 2016 Olympic Games. At age 21, we won’t be surprised if she tries for the trifecta in 2020 in Tokyo. Continue reading Olympic Boxing Recap: Shields and Adams Repeat; Mossely Takes Gold
No female MMA fighters made the ESPN the Body Issue this year, but women’s combat sports did get two representatives.
Olympians Adeline Gray (wrestling) and Claressa Shields (boxing; 2012 gold medalist) are both in the issue. Both will represent Team USA in Rio. Continue reading Wombat Watercooler -Bellator, POP, and Invicta Adds Fights to a Busy Summer
The 32 year old has started to make the transition from the screen to the ring earlier this year in hopes of boxing at the world famous Gleason’s Gym in New York this summer. Inspired by her acting coach to take up fight training to gain some confidence, she soon fell in love with the sport and is now documenting her journey as she prepare for her first real fight.
We got a chance to talk to Reinhardt about how she wound up from acting on stage to fighting in a ring.
(Photos courtesy Nadine Deckensattl)
Wombat Sports: Can you tell us about your life before this journey?
Dana Reinhardt: Before this journey, I’d say, I had a typical “single, female, at the beginning of her 30’s life”. I work on my career. Which in my case means working four days a week for a German Pay TV channel and pursuing my acting career more intense the 3-day weekend. I take acting classes, write, socialize, watch movies, enjoy a good glass of wine and … wonder about the world and how I fit in it.
Over the past few years I realized that I keep running into the same issues when it comes to self-confidence and accepting the woman that looks back at me when I look into the mirror.How one feels about himself/herself portrays to others and influences how we interact with them. You know those people who say that you need to love yourself in order to be loved by someone else. I guess that is what I am trying to do.
I feel that I stand in my own way of using all my potential because of doubting myself and comparing myself to others instead of just trusting myself. So, if I find a way to be OK with myself and if I allow myself to become all that I could be (without judging) then I would have so much more to offer and simply have a great chance of being truly happy. And this journey, boxing, facing my self-doubts and fears, is the way to get there.
Wombat: Tell us about the moment when you decided to take up acting.
Reinhardt: During the process of writing my Thesis at UNM about 2nd and 3rd generation Turks in Germany and how they define themselves and are defined by other especially by looking at German Comedies of that time (this was 2006/7), I read a lot about identity. Naturally, I came to the point where I thought about my own identity and it might seem silly but I came up with one question that I sort of live by now: “What do I want to tell my grandchildren when I am 80 years old?”
I alos want to always be able to say – I tried! I’d rather fall flat on my face and get back up then ever have to say, “I didn’t dare”. That was the point I decided, I would dare and chase my dreams. So I applied to German acting schools, and the one school I was very interested in in Munich took me.
W.S.: How has the acting helped you in gaining self confidence?
D.R.: Acting is a ruthless business. I am not sure I could say I gained self-confidence from acting per se. I mean I know my craft and skills well. I am confident about what I can do. I am in the right field of profession. But the business brings a lot of rejection and comparison with it. If you are like me, the subconscious easily drops thoughts like, “she is prettier”, “Wow, she did that really well” … “why would someone chose me?” Those thoughts don’t get you cast.
Where acting helped me a lot is figuring out the WHY, why I am the way I am. You need to know who you are and who the woman you are playing is. Only then can you make the jump in character to become that person. And ever since I figured out so much about me, I know there is great potential to do whatever I want to, if only I dare and do not hide behind what is holding me back. (Which if I have to guess is like with most people the fear of failing, of not be accepted or loved.)
D.R.: In order to tell you why I decided to take up fighting, I might need to tell you why I began boxing. One of my current acting teachers from London, Giles Foreman, taught me to be aware of the division of the body into motoric and sensoric. The sensoric part in me with all its emotional availability is well functioning within me. I am constantly in touch and aware of the flow of my emotions. What I am having trouble with is the motoric part, which you need to play a certain range of roles. So Giles said in order to work on “my spine” (which has a lot to do with giving in and resisting) I should start boxing to learn to resist.
After training with this group of women for a while, Stephan Feldmeier (Owner and main trainer at KS-Gym in Munich) and I talked about a film I am writing on and that I need to ask him a lot of questions about training, preparation and the mental state during preparing for a fight and the fight itself … and Stephan suggested to “just do it”. After thinking about it, I found so many good reasons of why I should fight for my personal development and as an actress.
Boxing is all about discipline, confidence, will power, overcoming your doubts, and facing the pain. Once in the ring, there is only you, your body and mind. No one else you can rely on. I truly believe that by training for this fight, I physically and mentally overpower myself to a point where I can look at who I really am and want to be. And by daring to fight, I will hopefully once and for all realize, that I can count on myself. And the only opinion about myself that should matter to me is my own.
W.S.: You are planning to train and fight in New York City. What influenced the move there?
D.R.: The reason I don’t have this fight in Germany is because I am to old to have an Amateur fight. Apparently in Germany, your first fight needs to be under the age of 30. Well, … mid-June I will be 33 years old.
New York is a great city and I am looking forward to pick up its vibe and learn about the boxing scene there. How amazing that this reason brings me to NY famous Gleason Gym. (What a story to tell my grandchildren one day. ☺) We will get to New York June 12th; I believe, and pick up training then.
W.S.: What has been the hardest part of fighting so far?
D.R.: Overcoming the fear of being hit is probably hardest to me. Followed by allowing myself to hit someone else. It is incredible what the mind goes through. I am thankful for this experience and admire every boxer now more than ever. As an actress I am trained to have a wide range of emotions, but these feelings when fighting are definitely new and very intense. The feeling that you opponent is stronger and you have 2 minutes to go and nowhere to hide; the adrenalin rushing through the body; the brain checking how much a hit really hurt and it all feels like slow motion whereas it can only be seconds the most. Amazing.
Now I have 3 month to go and hopefully my body will learn to enact on what my eyes see and my mind orders my body to do. Trusting your instincts is therefore another difficulty.And one thing I must admit which is also not that easy is being disciplined about eating. I try to eat healthy and I stayed away from my beloved chocolate, but I am very much looking forward to the day after the fight, where my goal shall be to find the best dessert NYC has to offer. And it might me combined with a terrific glass of red wine.
W.S.: What have you found natural and enjoyable about it?
D.R.: I am very critical with myself, so I am not sure anything in boxing comes natural to me. “Natural” would mean that I am good in something from the get go and I wouldn’t dare say that about anything related to boxing so far.
But I enjoy the disciplined work. I am exited to see that technical aspects I have been taught slowly sink in and take a more natural form. At times I am almost impressed by my will power. I am trilled every time I see progress and I enjoy boxing very much. Ever since I started training for the fight, I am much more content. And knowing that I am on the right way to reach my goals is priceless.
W.S.: What are your current goals?
D.R.: There are 2 heartfelt, ambitious goals. The current main goal is to fight mid June at the Gleason Gym in New York. I have almost 3 months left to prepare as good as I can. I am well aware that this to most fighters will be very amateur level, but to me this is the biggest fight I ever faced and I am willing to give it my all and see if I got what it takes. Everyone had to start somewhere.
My second goal is to reach people with my story and have women all over say… “If she can work on herself and overcome self created obstacles, so can I”. This is, because I think many women deal with the same self-doubts each day that I do. Therefore, I decided to shot a documentary about then process I am going through. But in order to realize the documentary I still have to find sponsors who are willing to support me (direct funding, box attire, flights for cameraman and sound assistant). So, if someone can relate and would be able to help out, I would be more than happy to send a trailer and show what I had in mind.
W.S.: What kind of support have you been getting in terms of fight training?
D.R.: I began training in January. So far I worked my way up to 4 boxing sessions a week, one of which sparing, one weight lifting, and running. I have the support of our gym and especially Stephan. I am being taught about technique and how to apply it. I trust Stephan to prepare me as well as possible and I try not to worry about what I cannot change. Certain movements take time to sink in and become natural. We will see in NY how well I can implement under pressure what I learned up to then.
What surprised me most so far (when it comes to support) though is how other women react to my decision. Of course I thought other women would think: “I am better / stronger/ faster than her. What makes her think she can fight?” and that they would give me looks. But what I heard a lot so far is: “Wow. How can I support you?” A revelation. Other women aren’t automatically out to get you.
W.S.: Anything you want to add/thank?
D.R.: Even though combined with a great deal of respect and fear of what lies ahead, I am very much looking forward to New York and this fight at the Gleason’s. What an honor to stand in the halls where Ali and other big names have trained and worked hard to make dreams come true. What an experience.I am glad that I can do my part in proving that boxing is so much more than “just” fighting – especially for women. And I am very grateful for everyone who supports this journey and who believes in me, and what I am trying to do. Thank you and see you in June.
The new millennium and the increase of female participation in combat sports has saw growth in to many of these stories being told.
The Artemis Film Festival is looking to highlight these stories as they are currently working their first event for April 2015.
They have started an Indie Go Go campaign to help get the event going.
We talked to the organizers Sean Newcombe and Melanie Wise about their inspiration for the festival and how women’s combat sports have been a big part of it.
Wombat Sports: How did the idea of the Artemis Film Festival come about?
Artemis Film Festival: The idea came about through inspiration, really. We have all been devoted to female action films from the standpoint of the sheer joy we have for physically strong female characters, but also from the standpoint of our passion for having a positive effect on the image of women in film and culture. We’ve all been completely focused on writing and creating female action films. We thought that having a film festival focused on female action heroes would allow for people who share our passion for strong female characters to celebrate this genre. We also felt it would be an opportunity to spotlight the power of women in our culture.
We wanted the festival to be a place where the legions of fans who love female action heroes could go and enjoy a array of great films in one place and at one time. (Female action films are a $3 billion industry, so this is not a niche.) The fact that such a festival had never been done before boggled our minds.
By showcasing such films, we could also draw attention to women as heroes, fighters and leaders, rather than as long-suffering wives, dutiful assistants and victims. We hope that we could help change the narrative of how women are portrayed in film.
Lastly, film often reflects and influences how we see ourselves, and celebrating these films, we hope, will help positively influence how women and girls perceive their power and status in culture.
Wombat: Can you tell us about the festival?
Artimis: We plan to show both classic female action films such as “Aliens” and “Kill Bill” and also showcase new films by unknown filmmakers in our festival competition. We want to be a venue that encourages new and unknown filmmakers to make female action films. If there’s an outlet for such films, they are more likely to be made.
We are also going to have an awards ceremony for films in competition and give awards to the women who are both pioneers and stars in female action films made by Hollywood. We have sent many invites to well-known female action stars and expect to hear from them soon. Also, we want to honor stuntwomen, athletes (women’s mma, of course) and female first-responders, such as military women.
W.S.: The culture has shifted in both entertainment and sports in term of female roles. What are you thoughts about the societal change?
AFF: There’s has been a shift in reality, in our everyday lives, but there has not necessarily been a shift in how that reality is portrayed in the media. While Hollywood has recently realized the power of the female action film market, they’ve been slow to broaden their portrayals of women to reflect the dynamism and power that can be seen in women in every aspect of our culture. We hope that our festival will help prod a faster shift to not only more roles for women in film (right now less than one out of every three speaking characters in a Hollywood movie, on average, is female), but to stronger, better roles for women.
W.S.: What kind of reaction have you seen among the female fight community?
AFF: The response from women, generally, has been extraordinary! The women we’ve heard from both in social media and in daily life has been completely positive, passionate and vocal.
With respect to the women’s mma community, we have not heard a lot, unfortunately. We’d love to hear more from them because we are huge supporters of womens mma! We love the sport and we’d love to celebrate it at our festival. Women’s mma is at the forefront of positively shifting societal images of female physical power. (Invicta FC and Tuf 20 are just two examples of that positive shift.) We want to honor that.
W.S.: You have an indie go-go started to make this event happen. What benefits can people expect for supporting the festival?
AFF: They can expect to see a festival which will properly honors the female action genre in a manner it deserves. We’d like our festival to have as broad a reach as possible so that we can include as many of the great films and as many of the women who are part of this cultural gender shift as possible.
Our crowdfunding is intended to allow us to show more classic films, more films from new, unknown filmmakers in the competition and offer a chance to honor the kind of women we mentioned above. We’d also like to make sure that the experience of the people who attend the festival is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
By crowdfunding we feel that we can offer a broader, bolder festival.
W.S.: Anything you want to add?
AFF: We want this festival to be fun, but we also want to open minds. The empowerment of women is at the center of what this festival is about. It’s the soul of it, in fact.
Also, we’d like to say that we love your blog and are big supporters of women’s combat sports!
Thank you for allowing us to talk with you about our festival!
As I explained in my open letter, I am looking to change Wombat Sports to what it was initially meant to be. I can’t do this on my own, and that;s where you come in.
We are looking for contributors to help with writing articles and covering certain combat sports. You would also get to interview talented athletes in those sports.
The main contributors we are looking for is in women’s boxing, Muay Thai, freestyle wrestling, and BJJ. (We already have some people interested in covering the WMMA portion of the site). The cool things is I have the tools to gain news and info for these sports, just not the time to write it up. You can “learn on the job” if you aren’t an expert on these topics; but being curious is the key thing.
You can learn more about what I am expecting and what benefits come with being a part of Wombat Sports here.
This is one of the many lessons from Jill Morley’s award winning documentary “Fight Like a Girl”, which saw it’s major release to most formats this week. The movie follow Morely beginning her journey into the sport and the many female pugilists she encounters along the way. Among them, a boxer looking to snap a losing streak (Kim Tomes), one on the rise in the sport but fighting ageism (Susan Merlucci), and an undefeated pro recovering from mental stumbling blocks as she seeks gold (Maureen Shea).
Morely’s story of abuse and depression is the main focus of the movie, which proves fighting is not only a physical game but a mental one as well. Each fighter including Morely must not only fight opponents and fatigue; they also must overcome doubt, heartbreak, and past traumas.
Morely’s look into the lives of these female fighters give you a great insight into how a mind of a fighter works. Anyone, male or female, can relate to a person featured in the documentary, and it’s well worth a watch.
You can rent or own it on multiple formats:
- Dish Network
- Blockbuster App
- Vudu (click here)
- Vimeo (click here)
- Google Play (Click here)
You can find out more on their website FightLikeaGirltheMovie.com.
This past week saw some of the world’s best amateur boxers try to gain gold at the AIBA Championships in Jeju, South Korea.
Olympic gold medalist and Team USA’s Claressa Shields took the AIBA Elite title for the first time. Shields would defeat China’s Li Qian in the 75 kg finals 3-0.
Shield’s Teammate and Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza would also claim her first AIBA title, defeating England’s Lisa Whiteside in the 51 kg final 2-1.
The major story surrounds Ireland’s Katie Taylor. The Olympic gold medalist has tied India’s Mary Kom for most AIBA World titles with 5. Taylor would defeat Yana Alexeyevna of Kazakhstan in the 60 kg finals.
Russia would take the team title with two gold medliats, one silver, and a bronze. Team USA would win a silver to take home three medals above their two golds. Also winning 3 medals where China (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze), Italy (1 silver; 2 bronze), and Turkey (3 bronze).