In the late 1990s, boxing promoter Jim Rupp and manager Bob Jarvis had been working on a first-ever co-ed bout between Martin O’Malley and Christy Martin. O’Malley was an accomplished amateur boxer who had recently turned professional. Martin was one of the best female boxers worldwide.
However, the fighters and promoters never made the match happen. Nonetheless, an idea was born, and Rupp would ultimately see the idea through.
Margaret McGregor would eventually sign to box Hector Morales on October 9, 1999. At the time, McGregor was undefeated with three professional bouts. A former kickboxer, McGregor believed she could compete with a male boxer.
While Morales intended on making his professional debut against McGregor, the potential embarrassment of fighting a woman took its toll on Morales and he backed out of the bout.
Loi Chow, who boxed in Morales’ camp1, agreed to fill in for Morales, and Rupp’s idea of a co-ed boxing match became a reality.
Some people accused Chow of being unchivalrous by stepping into a ring with a female. Others feared for McGregor’s safety. Chow himself predicted that he would knock her out. They all drastically underestimated McGregor.
On October 9, 1999, McGregor did much more than merely compete with a male boxer. In her red sports bra and gold boxing trunks, McGregor dominated a male boxer. Never intimidated, she boxed aggressively and won all four rounds on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
McGregor finished her boxing career at the end of 1999 with a professional record of 5-1. Chow never boxed again, retiring with a professional record of 0-3.
* It is unclear what Chow’s specific role was in working with Morales. A History of Women’s Boxing identifies Chow as Morales’ trainer. Page 222. However, www.womenboxing.com identifies Chow as Morales’ sparring partner.
Bill Barner is a former certified “USA Boxing” Judge, Referee, and Trainer. He is a former sparring partner for several amateur and professional fighters and currently practices criminal and immigration law in South Florida for BarnerRossen PA. He has appeared in The Ring Magazine, Bleacher Report, VOICE Magazine, Youngstown Vindicator, USABF, and is a regular contributor to East Side Boxing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @BarnerBill.