Olympic Women’s Boxing Brings Ladies to Gleason’s Gym

By Kimie Bunyasaranand

After women’s boxing became an event at the London Olympics last summer, the legendary boxing gym has seen an uptick in female members.

In the audio slideshow above, some female boxers and one of Gleason’s trainers share their stories and perspective on the influence of women’s boxing in the 2012 Games.

Women’s boxing joined the roster of Olympic events in London this summer, and since competition ended in August, there has been a “spurt” of ladies showing up to get in the ring at Gleason’s Gym in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.

“The number of applications from women just flows in,”  says Bruce Silverglade, the owner of the oldest active boxing gym in the country.

The sport’s new popularity as a result of the Games and the success of U.S. female boxers like gold medalist Claressa Shields point to an increase in female membership at Gleason’s. It has also served as inspiration for those who aspire to become professionals.

“I definitely am so much more inspired now,” says Danielle Lacy, 23, who trains at Gleason’s. “To know that there’s an optional goal at the Olympics is pretty inspiring.”

Women’s boxing has become a national trend as well, according to USA Boxing, the national governing body of boxing in the United States.

“The numbers have bounced around a little bit over the past few years but have gone up from last year,” says spokeswomanJulie Goldsticker. “We expect them to continue to do so, particularly following the women’s squad’s performance in London.”

When Gleason’s was founded in 1937, there were no female boxers. Now, about a third of the 1,200 boxers who train there are women. Silverglade says he thinks the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics “is the best thing that ever happened to boxing. The revenue that women have brought into the gym has been great.”

Claressa Shields, 17, won the gold medal for the U.S. in the 2012 London Olympics.
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

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