Sports

Chantelle Cameron: Why women’s boxing must have three-minute rounds

Editor’s note: Chantelle Cameron will defend her WBC and IBF junior welterweight world titles on Saturday, and she hopes victory will lead to a showdown with Kali Reis, who holds the other two world titles in the weight division.

Cameron (15-0, 8 KOs), 30, from Northampton, England, will fight Victoria Bustos (23-6, 0 KOs), from Argentina, over 10 two-minute rounds in a third title defence at the 02 Arena in London. In her own words, she tells Nick Parkinson about some necessary changes to the women’s side of the sport if female fighters are to earn the same — or as close to — money as men.

Katie Taylor’s recent fight against Amanda Serrano was massive for women’s boxing — a watershed moment in what it did for the sport. They put on a great fight for Katie’s world lightweight titles after a big build-up, and it will be remembered as a classic. But more still needs to be done for female boxers to get paid the same as men.

The purse Katie and Amanda got (at least $1 million each) was out of this world for women’s boxing. It has really shone a light on the sport because everyone was talking about that fight that week, so hopefully it will now get the promoters to dig their hands in their pockets a bit deeper and pay female boxers more.

The television views Taylor-Serrano got — 1.5 million — was unprecedented, and that was on top of a sold out crowd of over 19,000 at Madison Square Garden in New York. I’m hoping that one day I can fight on a stage like that… maybe against Taylor.

But not every fight can be like Taylor-Serrano and for women to say we want to be paid the same as male boxers, we should be boxing three-minute rounds. We are not going to be paid the same as men, or get paid close to the men, if we are doing fewer rounds and two-minute rounds.

We are doing half the work really if we are doing 10, two-minute rounds instead of 12, three-minute rounds.

If you are boxing in a six-round fight, you are not going to get paid the same as if you were boxing in a 12-round fight. The same goes for the length of rounds — we are not going to get paid the same as men so long as we box two-minute rounds.

The fans will get more from it too. The boxers will be able to sit down on their punches more over three minutes. That extra minute will see more stoppages in women’s boxing and that’s what fans want. At the moment women’s boxing is all action over two rounds, so you might lose some of that if it goes to three minutes, but for me I would prefer three-minute rounds.

Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano and Jake Paul achieved a lot with that fight for women’s boxing and it takes that to give people a kick up the a–. They have opened the door for more female boxers to earn higher purses, be in bigger fights, and have set the benchmark. Hopefully that fight lead to a bit of an increase in our purses, because we need it.

There was a time four or five years ago when I changed teams and because of contracts I wasn’t getting enough income from boxing, I was thinking I had to go and get a 9-5 job and work away from boxing. I was on the job agency websites and applying for random jobs. But luckily I came across trainers Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis and they helped me get my career back on track with new management.

Since my last fight it has also been hard because I boxed in October as the headline event, but then it all came tumbling down with the undisputed fight against Kali Reis falling through for February/March. It was a sickener because I was losing sponsors, there was no feedback on why the Reis fight wasn’t happening and no one was talking about me because I wasn’t being promoted.

But I’m hoping my next fight sets up something big… something like Katie Taylor.

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