Holly Holm, Laila Ali: The iconic women in the International Boxing Hall of Fame

Laila Ali Holly Holm

This week, the International Boxing Hall of Fame released its star-studded Class of 2022 list.

Retired boxing trailblazer Regina Halmich and current UFC fighter Holly Holm were named among the influential individuals to be inducted into the records.

The duo are just the fifth and sixth women respectively to be enrolled into the IBHOF Women’s Modern.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its inaugural mens inductees back in 1990 — with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Joe Louis becoming just a few of the first batch enrolled into the hall.

Despite decades of honours being awarded to male stars of the sport, the IBHOF didn’t introduce female inductees until 2020.

Here’s a look at the women who have been recognised for their contributions to boxing over the years with a spot in the Hall of Fame Women’s Modern category.

Christy Martin

Christy Martin

Christy Martin was one of the first two women to be inducted two years ago. Prior to the inaugural women’s award, the US star would frequent the IBHOF inductee ceremonies.

She made her professional debut in 1989 and competed up until 2012, where she retired after a loss to Mia St. John. During her career, she fought on the undercards of global stars, including Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

Martin came agonisingly close to rounding off her career with a 50th professional win, but it was not to be. The Coal Miner’s Daughter retired with a record of 49–7–3 and 31 knockout wins.

Lucia Rijker

Lucia Rijker

Lucia Rijker was an extremely fitting announcement for the first ever women’s IBHOF inductee ceremony. The Dutch Destroyer is widely regarded as the best female boxer of all time and her record speaks for itself.

Rijker was unbeaten in her fighting career, including her stint in kickboxing. With a record of 17-0 and 14 wins by knockout in boxing, it was an easy call to include the Dutch star in the first ever women’s induction.

In 1999, Rijker embarked on a new career as an actress, and has featured in the likes of Million Dollar Baby and Star Trek.

Laila Ali

Laila Ali

As the daughter of Muhammad Ali, Leila had some big footprints to follow in and she did not disappoint.

After an eight year career in boxing, Ali retired undefeated, winning all 24 of her professional bouts, 21 of which came by knockout.

Fighting under the ring name She Bee Stingin’, which pays homage to her father’s legacy, Ali first stepped into the ring aged 18, inspired by Christy Martin. She then went on to hold the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, as well as the IWBF Light Heavyweight title. 

Since her retirement, Ali has presented and appeared on a number of television shows, including American Gladiators with Hulk Hogan.

Ann Wolfe

Ann Wolfe

Ann Wolfe’s story is remarkable, and one of how strong women can overcome the toughest hardships and achieve their dreams.

Wolfe and her two daughters were homeless for a period of time before she competed in amateur fights that eventually became professional bouts.

The US star lost just one fight throughout her entire career and held world titles in three different weight divisions simultaneously. Since her retirement, she has become a boxing coach and has mentored her eldest daughter Jennifer Fenn and WBO–NABO junior middleweight champion James Kirkland.

Holly Holm

Holly Holm

Ranked as the best professional female boxer of all time by BoxRec, Holly Holm was always lined up to be inducted in the IBHOF. 

The Preacher’s Daughter defended her multiple world titles on 18 occasions, across three weight divisions, throughout her decorated career. 

Held in high regard as one of the best in the business, Holm called time on her boxing career with a record of 33–2–3 before going on to become a trailblazer in mixed martial arts.

Since becoming an MMA fighter, Holm made history by being the first and only competitor to hold a boxing title and a UFC title.

Regina Halmich

Regina Halmich

Regina Halmich is one of the most successful female boxers of all time and played a huge part in spearheading the women’s sport in Europe.

The German started her career in kickboxing before going on to hold world titles in the Flyweight and Super Flyweight boxing divisions. 

Halmich won 54 of her 56 professional bouts, losing one and drawing the other. 

She also competed against male TV show host Stefan Raab during a promotional fight in 2001, and then again in 2007. Halmich broke Raab’s nose in the first meeting and then beat him once again when they played out their rematch.


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