Ava Knight: From ballet to IBF flyweight champion
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 15, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Team Knight)
Ava "Lady of Boxing" Knight
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing. Ava "Lady of Boxing" Knight’s favorite punch is a left hook.

Eight months ago at the Palenque de la Feria, in Colima, Mexico City, that hook knocked out undefeated flyweight champion Arely Mucino in the second round. Knight, 23, had achieved her dream of winning a championship, but to the San Francisco native, the victory was only the beginning.

“I want to fight the best girl,” said Knight during a recent interview. “I want the biggest challenge for myself. I want to help women’s boxing by fighting quality fights. That’s the way we can make women’s boxing better.”

Knight’s road to the championship has been filled with various potholes.

“My parents put me in ballet when I was little girl,” Knight said with a chuckle. “They put my sister in karate. I was always jealous because I was never much of a girlie-girl, but my sister was."

“I never understood why they did that,” said Knight. "When I got older, I went to the boxing gym.”

Interestingly, the future champ was told by many adults that they admired her ballet abilities. Her interest was in something more physical. Knight tried out for the high school wrestling team. At 17, she moved to boxing.

What is it about the sport that she likes so much?

“Boxing is a gladiator sport,” said Knight. “It’s all about yourself. You have a team, but you have to prepare for the fight. If anything goes wrong it’s your fault.”

Early in her career, Knights father came to the gym to watch her.  She learned his support of her fighting career went beyond parental pride.

“My dad boxed as an amateur,” said Knight.” He’d never mentioned he boxed until after I started boxing.”

Though a boxing pedigree, Knight didn’t study the sport that closely. Now though, as her career progresses, Knight has begun to examine the careers of other boxers.

“I go and look at other fighters now, “Knight said. “I’m a big fan of the styles of Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler.”

How does she describe her style?

“I would say I’m a boxer-puncher,” said the young champion. “I have the power, but sometimes I box. It all depends on who I’m in there with.”

Knight discovered several years ago that she has many fans in Poland.

“I’m the first generation born here in America from Poland,“ said Knight. “My dad is African-American. I have a lot of family in Poland. We talk online. They are really excited about my career. They love it.”

Knight (9-1-3, 5 KOs) will likely be back in the ring next month again in Mexico. Her dream is to fight in her hometown of San Francisco. The way her career is blossoming, the dream could soon become a reality.

“The crowd kind of made it a U.S.A. versus Mexico," Knight said. “ I didn’t let it bother me.”

She injured her right hand during the contest.

“I don’t mean to make this sound bad but - she has a real hard head,” said Knight laughing. “I hurt my hand. It was a big deal in the ring. My whole demeanor changed. I learned to fight with an injury. It (the injury) taught me a valuable lesson.”

Knight will likely be back in the ring next month again in Mexico. Her dream is to fight in her hometown of San Francisco. The way her career is blossoming, the dream could soon become a reality.”

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