“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.” – Muhammed Ali.
Winning to date a total of 23/24 fights, the Jamaican born native has made her name as a renowned female boxer. Nicknamed ‘Slick’, Alicia Ashley holds the title WBC female world super bantamweight champion. The forty-eight year old defeated the unbeaten Christina McMahon of Ireland with scores of 100-89 and 98-91, 98-91 in a 10 round unanimous decision. Thus making history as the oldest female champion at forty-eight, and being the oldest is in itself a distinction in a career which started over some sixteen years ago.
Ashley states that although her career is saturated with male-dominance, and she seems underrepresented, she nonetheless shows her talents (and brawn). However, her background and family upbringing has a lot to do with where she has gotten as a boxer and more importantly as a person.
“I come from a matriarchal family,” her smile widens as she reminisces. “Women are really strong, they’re always telling you what to do. So being in a male-dominated sport never fazed me. I do feel like I am a strong, individual woman in a strong, individualized sport.” – Alicia Ashley in an interview with the Boxing Insider.
Migrating to the United States at a young age, Ashley started boxing at the age of sixteen. She transitioned into amateur kickboxing at twenty-seven, prior to which she trained in marital arts. She later picked up traditional boxing in 1999. The Jamaican southpaw has had many wins and defeats throughout her career; and with time she has been able to attain many accolades under her belt.
“I started out as a dancer, and when I got injured, my brother was doing karate at the time so I got into martial arts. I always tell people I love performing — the dancing aspect of it — so I’d go to a lot of tournaments, and it was like, ‘What’s next? Can I do something more?’” – Alicia Ashley in an interview with the Boxing Insider.
Since, despite her late start in the career, she compiled an extraordinary 10 – 0 – 1 record and earned various honors. Being the first female boxer to win the prestigious award since 1961 (54 years ago), she also was awarded the New York City Golden Gloves Championship in 1996 through to 1998 and the USA Boxing National Amateur 125-lb gold medalist in 1997-1998. Among that, when Ashley became the major title holder, she was also the recipient of the RJR sportswoman of the year, not to mention the prominent honor of being recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Ashley never stopped there as she achieved the WIBF featherweight title, the WIBF bantamweight title and was twice awarded the WBC super-bantamweight title. With a record of 23 – 10 – 1, she has filled the second position rank in the super bantamweight world ranking according to the Official Boxer Rec.
As a female, even as a five-time world champion, I’m not getting paid what the guys are getting paid. Not even a tenth of the amount….It’s the love of the sport that’s kept me in it…..You really have to love the sport to continue in it, I mean, you’re getting hit in the face.” – Alicia Ashley in an interview with the Boxing Insider.
By Alexandra Daley