Tonya Harding looses her first pro fight

Tonya Harding was beaten in her first boxing match, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2003, in Memphis, Tenn. Samantha Browning won by a split decision., 39-38 and 39-37 on two judges' cards for Browning, while Tonya won 39-37 on the third card. Both women were fighting their first pro fight.

To Tonya Harding’s credit did not turn her face or run away from the incoming punches like Paula Jones did during their celebrity boxing bout. Yes, she was beaten but she was enthusiastic:

Tonya’s face was crimson and wet sweaty but she still had a smile as she talked to the camera’s and posed for photos after the fight.

"It's not like I expected at all," said Tonya. "This was much, much harder than I ever figured. But it only makes me want to work that much harder. I didn't know who won," Harding said. "I just know it was a really hard fight. She never hurt me, I just had problems getting to her with my punches.

I only trained a month, but I felt great," Browning said. "She was a lot stronger than I thought, but she got weaker as the fight progressed. I knew I had to pour it on to get the decision and I did." At 32, Tonya Harding, her hair in a ponytail, face tight and determined, drew a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd.

Then both women were cheered as they slugged it out, in a way, to the end of the fight. "All I and anyone can ask for is that we give our best and that's what I gave," Tonya said. "I feel the fans got their money's worth tonight."

"One thing I like about boxing”, Tonya said, “is that I will not have to deal with the same kind of politics I had in skating. It's not about your appearance, how your costume looks, what color it is or how much it costs. It's about what you do in the ring and I really like that part of it. I'm trying to turn my image around and be a lady. But you can be a lady and an athlete too," Tonya said.

Harding signed a four-year promotion contract with Brian Young of Prize Fight Boxing, the local promoter of the Tyson vs. Etienne boxing event.

For more images and image origins, please visit the Charles Main website dedicated to Tonya Harding.