The Sooke Boxing Club is hosting the first female-only boxing card ever in the province on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29 at the Sooke Community Hall.

It is dubbed The West Coast Wonder Women event.

Coming to Sooke are at least 58 female fighters from across Canada and the US. There will be over 40 fights over the two-day card, 28 on Saturday alone.

The organizer, Ellen Connor, is a coach at Sooke Boxing Club. Her 13-year-old daughter Jill is a rising talent in the sport; therefore it makes sense to give her an opportunity to fight locally. She hopes to turn it into an annual event.

Women’s boxing was introduced to the world in a big way for the first time during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Women’s boxing hit the fringes of the mainstream when Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali took up the sport in 1999.

She went 24-0 with 21 wins by knockout or technical knockout. Her career spanned eight years until 2007, where she retired after defeating South Africa’s Gwendolyn O’Neil with a first-round TKO.

In Vegas, there is an appetite for celebrity women’s boxing. Current hit movie I, Tonya features Tonya Harding, former world-class figure skater, who was raised in poverty had a tough edge to her. She took up the sport when figure skating and the courts rejected her. She produced headlines but retired after going 3-3.

While the men’s version of the sport has waned in recent years due to the rise in the more popular and more violent combat sports like mixed martial arts, as well as the fall from grace due to decades of fight fixing and corruption, the women’s event continues to grow organically. Connor was inspired by the idea when she witnessed an all-women’s boxing card in San Francisco.

And of course, Jill has aspirations to compete in the Olympics one day.

Advance tickets are $20 and $25 at the door $25.

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