Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ann Wolfe is best known as “the baddest woman on the planet”. She was a professional boxer from 1998-2006. Wolfe amassed a professional record of 24 wins, 1 loss (which she avenged, twice) and 16 wins by way of knockout. She did all this while holding 4 weight class titles simultaneously. Ann Wolfe’s story is one of poverty, crime and destitution. Boxing became her salvation and she became, arguably, the greatest female fighter of all time.
Most recently, Ms. Wolfe starred in the box office smash hit “Wonder Woman”, where she was specifically casted by director Patty Jenkins to play the role of “Artemis”. Jenkins announced on Twitter when Wolfe got the part, “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history”.
We were able to speak with Ann Wolfe about her humble beginnings, her thoughts on the state of boxing, Wonder Woman, and being a role model for young females.
Boxing Insider: What was it like filming a big blockbuster movie? Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
Ann Wolfe: It was OK. As long as I have something to do, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Did the people on set know you are this great boxer or did they just think you were some unknown actor?
Ann Wolfe: No, Patty Jenkins personally looked for me. She wanted me to play Artemis. Her husband was a Thai boxer and they wanted me. So she looked for me, so I didn’t cast for Artemis.
The other actors knew who I was, because Patty filled them in. Gal (Gadot) would walk up and talk to me, she was really nice. Chris (Pine) was also very nice. Gal looked at me and then at Patty Jenkins and said “that is Artemis”. They knew, and it was weird because they are actors and big Hollywood stars and they were excited to meet me.
Boxing Insider: Did any of your boxing training help translate to your role as Artemis?
Ann Wolfe: Yes, all of it did. Because using a sword, in boxing you are taught to keep your hands in tight, but with the weapons they wanted you to be more open. It was easy because I was able to use the balance that I have,to use the Axe really well.
Boxing Insider: As an ambassador for female boxing, why do you think it hasn’t caught on in the same way that the UFC female fighters have?
Ann Wolfe: Number one, the UFC is a little more engaging. It’s a new sport itself, so you don’t have to have a lot of skill. Boxing is the sweet science. So if you want to begin in the grass roots of boxing where women are on the same level as guys, you are talking hundreds of years. Men have been boxing everyday all day for a hundred years. So it will take some time. You will need to bring more young girls into the gym starting at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. And it would have to be 100,000 of them. If you look at MMA, you don’t have an amateur MMA. You have some of these young men like James Kirkland who had 140 amateur fights, I had 3. My skill level was I was just powerful as hell, I didn’t know how to actually box in the beginning. I was just punching them, the skill level wasn’t there. You will have one or two females that are really skillful, but who are they gonna box to get better. MMA is just more exciting because you kick and throw people on the ground and whatever. But people tuned into a fighter like me because I put people to sleep.
Boxing Insider: Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Ann Wolfe: Its gonna sound weird, but Glenn Johnson is one of my favorite fighters, because he was one of those throwback fighters that could lose a fight, and then come back and win. I like Andre Ward, I like Alfredo Angulo, he had a great passion. Most people would think that I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but I like Floyd. He understood on how to keep winning, I don’t care what anyone says, he kept the passion in his boxing and in his training to win. A lot of people lose that. They get the money and they don’t want to train and Mayweather trained the same as when he had no money and persisted to win. And my favorite fighter is the greatest fighter to ever walk on this earth, and that is Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing Insider: Do you expect a call from the Hall of Fame pretty soon?
Ann Wolfe: No, I am already inducted into the female boxing hall of fame and I don’t know if the International Boxing Hall of Fame has any females in it. I don’t know and if I don’t, I’m ok with it. At this time in my life I understand that. I never want to say I’m the greatest fighter as a female, but if you go back and look at my career. I have 3 or 4 amateur fights and in two and a half years I cleaned out the entire, from welterweight to Super Heavyweight. Everybody doesn’t understand that I was going down to 152, up to 175, down to 168. I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep. If you look at what I was doing and how I did it, I just don’t see no one doing what I did. I held and defended 8 titles in 4 different weight classes. That is like a 106 pounder fighting someone at 175. If I would have just stayed at Jr. Middleweight I wouldn’t have made it exciting, because I’m 150lbs and I’m fighting the Super Heavyweight champion of the world and knocking her out. That’s what people don’t realize, we were never the same size. So I was putting middleweights, Light heavy’s, heavies and Super Heavy’s to sleep. And it got to a point where no one would fight me, so I retired. I will never box again because I went 2 years and no one would fight me at all, zero. That’s when I started training fighters.
Boxing Insider: So what is next for Ann Wolfe? Will we see you return to training fighters or is acting now a serious thing?
Ann Wolfe: I really want to turn toward the acting, because I liked it and a lot of kids can get, what people don’t realize I have put 160 kids through school. I had a gym full of children. Some of those kids slept in the gym. Some of those kids lived in the gyms. I went to those kids schools. I think with the training, I can’t make a fighter have that passion that I have, and it takes years to develop a fighter. Right now I don’t have it in my heart to pour out all of me into that one person, because you don’t know if they are gonna have that same passion when it’s time to have it. I’ve never trained anyone that I haven’t known as a child. I knew Kirkland when he was 12. Every one of them I started training when they were kids. This is not about just the fight game for me. It is a sport for troubled children that are drawn to violence and that type of life. Boxing has that violence part in it, but it also has structure and dedication and the whole nine yards. You get that little bit of violence that you were drawn towards, but it can save a lot of kids.
Boxing Insider: Whatever happened to Vonda Ward after that famous KO?
Ann Wolfe: She had to go to the hospital. I sent a lot of ladies to the hospital. If you go and look at my record, a lot of the people I knocked out never fought again, or maybe one time and that was it. Valerie Mahfood was my only loss and I came back and beat her twice. She said that was the hardest she had ever been hit in her natural life, man or woman.