By: Bryant Romero
Ava “Lady of Boxing” Knight is making her long awaited return to boxing on July 21 in Memphis, Tennessee. The former world flyweight champion is hungry to get back in the in the ring after a more than a two year absence. Knight (14-2-4, 5 KOs) has rediscovered her love for the sport, wants to remain active, and to become a world champion again. Boxinginsider recently caught up with the ‘Lady of Boxing’ as she gave her thoughts on the current state of women’s boxing, how she accidentally got into the sport while growing up in Chico, California, and what has she been doing since her two year hiatus from boxing.
“I stared boxing at 13. It kind of was just an accident,” Ava told me. “My girlfriend was just like ‘let’s go to the gym and I’m like ‘okay.
“I had never seen a boxing match in my life, I had never fought. I wasn’t bullied, so it was just a new experience and I fell in love with it and I started taking classes.
“Nobody thought I was going to make it, so I came in and sparred my friend about a few months after we started and she knock me down and I couldn’t stop laughing. After that moment I just fell in love with it,” Ava said.
Ava is an 11 year veteran of the fight game and she’s definitely noticed that women’s boxing is becoming more acceptable compared to when she first turn pro back in 2007. Seeing the likes of Clarissa Shields and Cecilia Brækhus on headlining cards in the states gives her feelings of joy and motivates her to perhaps one day be on a big significant card herself in the future.
“It’s becoming more acceptable to men,” Ava said. “Now that we are seeing women fighting in MMA because I think before they didn’t want to see two women hitting each other.
“Well now people are now watching two women bash their heads in an octagon. Why can’t we box? Why can’t we be a little classier and have some rules? And hit each other with bigger gloves on.
“So I think now it’s just becoming a different attitude about it with younger people coming into the game. I feel like you can’t ignore it anymore, you can’t put these women who put their whole live into winning gold medals on the back burner anymore.
“Because girls like me who won world titles, nobody cares about us. But now with a whole Olympic sport it’s different,” Ava explained.
Ava couldn’t be happier with the progress women’s boxing has made over the past decade and insists there are no hard feelings towards the women in boxing that are receiving a lot of attention in the public.
“It makes me feel happy. There is no ounce of jealousy in me. I’ve been doing this for so long,” Ava told me. “I’ve been a professional for 11 years and there’s no part of me that wishes it was me.
“O f course I would love to start doing that, getting back in the ring and doing that again. But I’m so excited to see that women are doing it, women are making it, women are making money, they are headlining, they deserve it,” Ava said.
When it comes to Ava’s career, she is looking get active again, though she has had spurts of inactivity throughout her career. In the beginning of her pro career, it was very difficult finding opponents, which led to the inactivity and also sometimes not even being offered prize money to compete. However, when it comes to her recent hiatus she took an opportunity she couldn’t turn down, which actually helped regain her love for the sport.
“The last two years I had an amazing opportunity to travel the world and personally train Joe Jonas,” she said. “I got him ready for this huge photo shoot he had and it was amazing. I would never take that back to go win another title.
“Because everything that goes into boxing is legit, it’s a full time job and you’re taking that job home every day. That personally had to do with my last two years. I was excited to travel the world and doing something else and fall back in love with it now,” Ava said.
Ava moved to Las Vegas four years ago where she met Floyd Mayweather and is now a Mayweather promoted fighter and regularly trains at the Mayweather boxing club. Now that she’s looking to active in the ring again, she mentioned a few rivals in her division that she’s sees as significant fights in the future.
“In the future I would love to see the girls in my weight class step up their game a little more,” Ava told me. “Their kind of grooming their way up, but there a lot of girls in the flyweight division that are coming up.
“There’s Tyrieshia Douglas (13-1, 6 KOs) I think she’s amazing. Out of everybody in that weight class if they haven’t fought each other, they’d have a hard time with her.
“Seniesa Estrada (13-0, 3 KOs) is doing great, she’s just got signed to Golden Boy.
“They (Golden Boy) have Marlen Esparza (5-0, 1 KO) and we have a feud since the last six years talking shit to each other.
“There are a few other girls too and they’re all doing great. They’re all well groomed, amateur careers, they all went to tournaments and probably have close to 100 fights if not more.
“I didn’t have that, so I would love to get in the ring with these girls and show them that’s not what makes you,” Ava said.