Photo by Sean McDonough/Photo edit by Jason Rountree
Ava Knight (12-2-3, 5 KOs) is one of the premier fighters in boxing today. The problem is, you may have never seen her fight before.
In actuality, exposure is a major problem facing women’s boxing today.
Knight is not only fighting for personal recognition, but also for the progression and acknowledgement of her sport in general.
According to her website, Knight’s “ultimate goal is to catch the attention of promoters for women’s boxing so it can become a part of the sport as much as the women have done in MMA.”
Knight is blazing her trail as a spokesperson for the sport that she loves. She recently made her move from the Bay Area in California to Las Vegas, NV where she was welcomed into the Mayweather Boxing Club by the pound-for-pound king himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Knight, with promotional woes currently a major issue in her career.
We got a chance to speak with Knight who caught us up on her promotional situation, her thoughts on the state of boxing and more!
Round By Round Boxing: How did you start boxing and why?
Ava Knight: I started boxing at 13 and I trained about three months before my first fight. I loved it, I felt so alive and it just brought a new excitement to my life. I couldn’t afford school sports and with my former coaches helping out, I was able to continue fighting. Boxing is everything to me. It’s what I think about when I wake up and when I go to sleep. I think about the technique, the opponents and the struggle.
RBRBoxing: Who in boxing do you look up to?
RBRBoxing: I know you have a great relationship with Pound-for-Pound fighter Andre Ward, how did that relationship come about?
AK: Andre really supports boxing period and he supported me as a fighter coming from the Bay Area. I was in Oakland for a few years and Andre respected my grind and love for boxing. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to fight on his undercard, but having someone like Andre Ward back you up is a blessing.
RBRBoxing: Is boxing a full-time job right now or do you have another career outside of boxing?
AK: Boxing used to be a full time job, but with the big move to Vegas and starting over I have to find a job to sustain my career. Woman fighters don’t get paid enough to live off purses and with no sponsors I’m in a tight spot to work to continue to box.
Photo courtesy of Team Knight
RBRBoxing: I also know you do bodybuilding/fitness competitions. What is that like? Does boxing help get your body ready for competition and vice versa?
AK: The competitions do nothing for my boxing except keep me in the gym. It has allowed me to come outside my box and be more comfortable with me as a person and gain self-confidence. Boxing is totally opposite [from body building]; from attitude, diet, training and practice. It is a lot of practicing at being a girl for bikini competitions, which is something that is foreign to me, but I love that I can be versatile in the fitness world.
RBRBoxing: What promotional company are you signed with at the moment?
AK: I am currently signed with Promotions del Pueblo and I’m not happy. Being signed to another country is not the greatest thing for a fighter that wants to get respect in their own country. I love the love I get from my Mexican fans, but it doesn’t translate when I return home. The USA doesn’t know who I am and I may be one of the biggest names in American boxing today. I would like to get the opportunity to fight in the United States and hopefully that comes soon.
RBRBoxing: Describe your style of boxing?
AK: I can switch it up. People call me a boxer puncher. I can box and fight, I prefer to fight, but I know that you have to adapt to fighters and styles.
RBRBoxing: What are your thoughts on the state of boxing in the U.S. right now?
AK: Boxing is great right now. There have been some great competitive fights on television and it only seems to be getting better. Moving to Vegas I have come to see how great and hungry young fighters are in the gyms and I love it.
RBRBoxing: Do you feel women’s boxing is on the rise in the U.S.?
AK: I feel women’s boxing is at a standstill. Nothing has gotten better except a few promoters putting on a few girls locally. Fights must be showcased on big cards and television to get noticed and until then, women will be the lesser valued athlete in the sport.
RBRBoxing: Why do you feel women’s boxing is bigger or more respected in countries like Mexico and the Dominican Republic?
AK: The women in other countries are treated equal and are embraced. I feel they don’t see us as lesser than the men [in other countries]. We put on great shows and the people can value that greatly.
RBRBoxing: Are you still beefing with Marlen Esparza? Do you feel what she is doing is helping promote a good vision for female boxing?
AK: I honestly could care less about Marlen. She has no effect on my career whatsoever seeing that we are in two [different] places that don’t fit. Her character showed when she bashed me on Twitter and made ignorant remarks. I am a Lady and I wish her the best with her career. I have nothing bad or good to say about Marlen.
RBRBoxing: Besides you doing your thing on the West Coast, are there any East Coast fighters you feel are promoting women’s boxing in a good way? People like Heather Hardy, Nydia Feliciano, Amanda, Cindy Serrano or Shelly Vincent?
AK: The East Coast is doing a great job with their female fighters. It has brought a lot of attention to women on the East Coast, but just that. We on the West Coast don’t feel the impact, but hopefully it is just the start though. All those women are doing great promoting themselves and they are very talented. I hope that soon they will be put on a big show to help female boxing grow.
RBRBoxing: Lou DiBella spoke about possibly doing an all-women’s card. What do you think about that? Would it be something you would be interested in being part of?
AK: I don’t agree with all-women’s cards. I have been on one before and personally it is exactly the opposite of what we are asking for. We see all men’s cards all the time, so why not mix us together. Let the people say the ladies did better than the men. People will appreciate us next to the men, while I feel if we are all women on a card, the comparisons are lesser. I want equality and segregating us because we don’t think it is fare isn’t logical to me.
Photo by Ray Flores
RBRBoxing: What is next for Ava Knight?
AK: I have moved to Las Vegas and in pursuit of a new career. Boxing is my one love, but really with the way I am stagnant at the moment, a fight may be on the horizon and it might not be. I have been through a lot to become a champion in a way that most women today will never understand. I am hoping big things happen with the place I am in right now and if not I will continue to promote women’s boxing and set a good example by showcasing my talent in gyms. I will be continuing NPC competitions and maybe some fitness modeling. Staying busy and staying fit is the key just in case I get that big call.
AK: Twitter and Instagram I am at @AvaKnightBoxing and Facebook.com/officialavaknight
RBRBoxing: Any last words for your fight fans around the world?
AK: I want to say please support your female athletes. With athletics being more male dominated, help your local athletes with success. It is our mothers, daughters and sisters that just want a chance at something they were told they couldn’t do. Thank you for the interview.
All answers obtained firsthand by Brendan Montenegro/Round By Round Boxing. Foreword by Alejandro Burgos/Round By Round Boxing.