Canadian female boxer tries to KO skirts in ring

Amateur boxer Elizabeth Plank of Montreal is protesting a proposal that female boxers wear skirts instead of shorts when women's boxing makes its debut at the 2012 London Olympics.
British lightweight champion Natasha Jonas, right, wears traditional boxing shorts as she trains at the Olympic boxing venue. (Andrew Winning/Reuters)

A Canadian boxer has her shorts in a knot about wearing a skirt in the ring.

Elizabeth Plank, an amateur boxer from Montreal, has come out swinging at a proposal that female boxers wear skirts rather than shorts when women's boxing makes its Olympic debut later this summer in London, England.

"Forcing women to wear skirts, I think, it's sexism," she told Teddy Katz of CBC Radio Sports.

Plank has received more than 52,000 signatures of support at, where she has created an online petition protesting the Amateur International Boxing Association's willingness to consider skirts in the ring.

"This ludicrous recommendation clearly has nothing to do with athletics and only serves to enforce gender stereotypes and the subjugation of women," she said on the petition.

The AIBA publicly stated it favours a skirt's elegance and how it differentiates female pugilists from their male counterparts.

"I think when you mention elegance, you definitely have discrimination going on," said Plank, presently a graduate student at the London School of Economics.

The AIBA requested that female boxers wear skirts — on a trial basis — at the European Championships this past October, but only Poland and Romania complied.

"It is a disgrace that they are forcing some of the women to wear those mini-skirts," three-time world champion Katie Taylor of Ireland told BBC Sport at the time.

"We should be able to wear shorts, just like the men. I won't be wearing a mini-skirt. I don't even wear mini-skirts on a night out, so I definitely won't be wearing miniskirts in the ring."

"Nothing practical is going to come from wearing a skirt," added British lightweight champion Natasha Jonas. "The only people who would want to see women in skirts are men.


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"It should be the boxer's choice whether they want to or not. You shouldn't be forced to wear one."

Mark Tewksbury, Canada's chef de mission for the London Olympics, agreed, believing it should be up to the athlete to decide, not the sport's governing body.

"I think it should be optional for everybody. I think the men should be allowed to wear skirts too if they want," he said, laughing.

The AIBA is meeting this week in Thailand to discuss the issue and make its recommendations to the executive committee, which reportedly will render a formal decision in July.