Women punch past boxing barriers

Boxing officials Carmen Daniela and Maria Pittiglio. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Boxing officials Carmen Daniela and Maria Pittiglio. Picture: ROBERT PEET

BOXING

Boxing, perhaps more than any other sport, is very much a man's world but Wollongong boxing aficionados Maria Pittiglio and Carmen Daniela are breaking the mould.

Former WKA world featherweight kickboxing champion Pittiglio - who also represented Australia at the Boxing World Championships in 2008 - recently became the youngest Australian woman to earn International Boxing Association (AIBA) accreditation.

She also earned her international stripes as a referee.

On Saturday, the duo were judge and referee in the second leg of the 2014 Sting Cup which pits the Australian and Scottish elite men's teams against each other in preparation for September's Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Pittiglio began officiating when she was forced out of the sport due to eligibility rules.

"I didn't really choose to stop competing but the rules changed to stipulate that we couldn't fight past the age of 34 at Olympic level," she said.

"They changed it back to 40 but I'd already started refereeing and judging, so I decided to continue down that path.

"I love boxing, so I definitely had to stay in it and around it."

Pittiglio said while the sport has long been a boys' club, the tide is slowly turning.

"It's a tough job, especially when you're standing in the ring looking up at guys who are 120 kilos but a lot of the guys know I used to compete so they have that respect."

Daniela became involved when her children started boxing and she wanted to be more than just a spectator.

"I thought I wanted to participate more than just a mother taking the kids to the boxing," she said.

"My friends still ask me 'why boxing?' but I just fell in love with it."

Judging can a be a particularly thankless task but Daniela enjoys every minute ringside.

"We're only human and we may get things wrong but we always try to look at the best quality boxing," she said.

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