Women’s fighting sports have a rich and storied history. As far back as the eighteenth century, female fighters battled at varying levels, from county fairs to elite events. With new opportunities to compete in legitimate arenas—from the Olympics and the Golden Gloves to wrestling tournaments and Ultimate Fighting Championships—women are now able to fight in ways their predecessors never could. And though women today still often face the same derision their predecessors faced, their fortitude and determination has earned them respect from much of the fighting community.
In She’s a Knockout!: A History of Women in Fighting Sports, L.A. Jennings chronicles the stories of these strong and resilient women—including wrestlers, mixed martial arts competitors, and boxers—and the different issues they have encountered. Throughout the narrative, Jennings situates the stories of the female fighters in the culture of their time, revealing how women were often seen as objects of spectacle and ridicule before finally garnering admiration in the fighting world. The women featured in this book include England’s “Championess” Elizabeth Stokes of the 1720s, American wrestler Cora Livingstone in the 1930s, and early MMA great Debi Purcell in the 2000s.
Featuring historical and contemporary photographs and exclusive interviews with professional fighters, this book delivers an in-depth look into the struggles and triumphs of female fighters. Fans of fighting sports, sports historians, and those interested in the history of women in sports will find this a fascinating and illuminating read. Rowman Littlefield Publishers