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
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
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.