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Q And A With Sarah Howett

By Lovemore Ndou: According to Ludacris, the Hip Hop and R&B artist, in one of his hit songs “Pimpin’ All Over The World”, the best looking women reside in Africa. That’s because Ludacris has either never been to the Land Down Under or if he has he was busy ‘Disturbing Tha Peace’ or ‘Acting a Fool’ instead of checking out the women in Australia. Surely Africa has its share of beautiful women but so does Australia. The only difference however is that the women in Australia can fight too.


In the next couple of days I will be talking to some of these fighting beauties from the Land Down Under. Since the inclusion of women boxing at the recent Olympics in London there has since been a debate about whether women should be allowed to compete in three minute rounds like men do instead of two minute rounds. Whether their title fights should also be 12x3 minute rounds instead of 10x2 minute rounds. And whether these women should be allowed to complete against men in their weight classes.


The first of these fighting beauties I had an opportunity to talk to is 31 year old Sarah Howett, nicknamed “Missy”. Missy started her career as a kickboxer/ Muay Thai fighter where she won a number of titles along the way. She has also appeared in a number of television shows including the Australian version of Gladiators. As a boxer she competes at light welterweight and is the most avoided female fighter in Australia despite still being a novice of only five fights for four wins and one loss. Her loss came against the highly experienced Erin McGowan who is also known for putting men on their backsides during sparring sessions.


Missy also talks to me about her upcoming fight, her dreams to fight for a world title and having to advance her stance, balance and the urge to knee someone in the head when they weave during fights.


Below is a question and answer interview with Sarah Howett




Q You have a fight coming up on the 20th of October against Arlene Blencowe at the Moonee Valley Racecourse. What can we expect to see from you?


A; I’m expecting a tough fight from Arlene. She just missed out on making the Olympic selection from what I’ve been told. I have also heard that she has a very similar fighting style to mine, so this could potentially be an epic battle. It’s important for me to give the crowd something exciting to watch.


Q What can you tell us about your opponent?


A I hear she moves well, she’s sharp, hits hard and is determined. Exactly the type of fighter I would want to be up against. I’m expecting a lot from this girl. She has been described as having a similar style to mine.


Q Your last fight was in March when you defeated Daniella Smith. Is there any particular reason you have been inactive?


A I have had two fights scheduled in between. One of which I was forced to pull out from a chipped bone in my wrist close to the fight. There is nothing worse than having to pull out of a show. I have only done it twice in 7 years due to serious injury. The mental anticlimax feels harsher than going into the ring having your arms tied behind your back. The other, I was scheduled to fight against Latana Mundine and she pulled out - again close to the fight. I have felt like the Queen of preparing for fights but have had an unlucky string of events. Still, training never goes to waste and it keeps me happy.


Q .You have a kickboxing background. Did you find it hard switching from kickboxing to normal boxing?


A I favour my hands, even in Kickboxing/Muay Thai, that was always evidently clear. It took me some time to adjust my stance, my balance & the urge to knee someone in the head when they weaved but I eventually got there.


Q What made you switch to normal boxing?


A I love my hands. I love the art of slipping and weaving. I love footwork. I was fighting both kickboxing and boxing (only amateur in boxing) and when I went to the WBC Convention in Chengdu, China in 2008 I met up with some of boxing’s greats. I got to spend a week with the likes of Barry Michael, Gus Mercurio, Bernie Balmer, Don King and many other legends from trainers, fighters, ring officials, referees, etc. They all suggested to me that I should pick one style & to pick boxing. I concurred and have never looked back. I still love kicking and always will but when it comes to my career, it’s boxing.



Q Can we expect to see you in Combat 8 in the near future?


A It’s not something I’ve given any thought to presently.


Q Can we expect to see you fight for the world title sometimes soon? And who would you like to challenge for the world title?


A Hell yes! If it were tomorrow, I’d be there! Who’s putting it on? I really want to up my ranking so any of the top 5 world-wide ranked women would be ideal.


Q  Is there any fighter in particular you would love to fight in Australia? And why?


A No. I spoke with Di Prazak in L.A recently and we spoke about how so many fighters are trying to scale on top of one another. Obviously you need to fight other Aussie Fighters when building up a record but in my eyes, ultimately we are all on the same team. I would love nothing more than to see more world titles brought into the hands of Australian fighters. This way we are more recognised and the sport can grow healthier. I would love to go to the USA to train and spar with both Di Prazak and Erin McGowan (both of who I have fought & now all in different weight divisions) and support each other through fights. Boxing is crazy so it’s cool when you meet other people who share the same insanity.


Q After ten professional fights you automatically qualify to fight for the IBF title. Can we expect to see you fight for such a title in the near future?


A You can count on it!


Q Do you think women should be allowed to fight 3 minute rounds like men instead of 2 minute rounds? Why?


A Five years ago, I would have said yes. I have fought 3 minute rounds in Muay Thai before. That last minute can tend to drag if the fighter’s are fatigued & hence grow tiresome with the audience. If anything drags on for too long, the interest is lost.


Q  Do you think women title fights should also be 12x3 minute rounds instead of 10x2 minute rounds or 8x2 minute rounds? Why?

A: No. Again, five years ago I would have been all for it because that’s what I wanted but now that I am wiser, I don’t think it’s necessary. There is nothing to prove in saying you fight for 3 minutes. Most of us train in 3 minute rounds, so the 2 minutes are jam packed with action.


Q  Do you think women should be allowed to compete against men? Why?


A: No. Yet again, I would have been the first to put my hand up to fight a male on record. I was fighting them daily in my training so having a bigger audience to watch made no difference to me. But now, I just don’t feel it’s necessary. Due to genetic make-up, there is already a disadvantage for women physically, there is no denying that. I have changed my attitude a lot over the years. There is nothing to prove by doing this. It can only end up ugly eventually. It’s dangerous and irresponsible. I have every faith behind the female boxers of the world but it would be like fighting someone on steroids. Unfair and unethical.


Q: Would you fight against a male fighter?


A: Before when I had too much pride, yes! Now I have just the right amount of pride.


Q:  If you were to pick a male fighter in Australia in your division to fight against, who would you pick? Why? And how do you think you will go?


A: I wouldn’t. I’d like to spar them but I have nothing to prove in fighting them in a competition, although I would totally dominate and win! haha :)  There are a lot of great up and coming fighters - Jake Carr is a name I am going to be keeping my eye on. Team Jake!


Q:  Anything else you would like to tell us?


A: I would like to thank everyone in the Fighting World for continually sticking by me. I know it has been a long ride of ups and downs, fights and no fights but I can feel everybody’s support, especially during those times when I am waiting on the sidelines, hanging to jump in and play. And when I am on, what a ride!!! My family, my friends who wait patiently for me are my support base. My trainer, my friend, Joe Nader- you are one talented man who has brought out the fighter within me & I will be forever grateful. Gary & Elly from Black & Blue have stuck by me from the beginning until now. Thank you!


October 10, 2012


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