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Stan Hoffman says Lucia Rijker Will Fight a Man in the Year 2000
Katherine Dunn

November 1, 1999

During the hoorah over the Oct. 9 female vs male bout in Seattle between Margaret MacGregor and Loi Chow, promoter Bob Jarvis said he'd been inspired by internet rumors that Women's International Boxing Federation 139 lb champ Lucia Rijker was going to fight a man soon. Rijker is thought by many to be the most accomplished and skilled boxer currently in the women's game. To check the rumor, I phoned Rijker's manager, the jovial Stan Hoffman of New York, who also manages James Tony, Don Diego Poeder, and others. Hoffman confirmed the rumor, and explained his own approach to matchmaking across gender barriers.

KD-- I have heard rumors that you are considering a match for Lucia Rijker against a man.

SH--I won't lie to you. That is true.

KD--It is being considered?

SH--un-hunh (positive)

KD--I understand her bout on the Tyson (vs Orlin Norris) undercard just got scratched. What was that about?

SH--Nothing important. She was scheduled to be on two Mike Tyson pay per view shows. This is not a pay per view. Showtime is putting it on an alternative date. Not the same.

KD--That must be frustrating.

SH--Sure it is. But I can't argue it because that's a legitimate contractual deal.

KD--So what's next?

SH--Well, she's gonna fight some time in November on a Fox show to keep her busy. And by the way, I was not overly disappointed about the 23rd of October because in her last fight (Rijker TKO'd Diane Dutra in the third round on August 28,'99) she got a busted eardrum and the doctor told her, which is right, you'll probably not be able to work for eight weeks. So it would have been only a couple of weeks of sparring at the most. We were pushing it only because of the date that we thought would be great for her. I had misgivings about it, and as it turns out it didn't have to happen.

KD--Have you set a particular date for a Fox card in November?

SH--We're talking about the 14th or the 21st.

KD--So what's your general thinking about male vs female boxing?

SH--I think you're going to see more of it and it depends on how attractive it is. And what I mean by that is, if they do the wrong kind of shows and a guy is just beating up on a woman, just so a guy and a girl can fight, it'll kill it. If they show better fights, unlike this one that just occurred. And women fight legitimate males and males fight legitimate women there's no reason why it shouldn't go further.

KD--So you don't think that there are physical differences that give males an unfair advantage?

SH--Absolutely I do. So what I would do is look to equal the playing field.

KD--How would you do that?

SH--There's a lot of ways. You can give the guy larger gloves. Heavier gloves so they're almost like sparring gloves. You can agree to a differential in weight so that the weight evens it out. Lets say the woman weighs ten, fifteen, twenty pounds more than her opponent. You can give experience some kind of a play in the fight. But it's still got to be credible. There are ways, in my opinion to do it. Hopefully once we finish, if we ever do, going further with this same idea as we had thought about. And are still thinking, Not only thought about, talking about. I hope to even the playing field. Just level it off.

KD--So, a kind of handicapping process.

SH--Sure. It's like me going out to play golf with a scratch golfer. He has to give me two hundred points, and then we start from there. That's what exactly what I'm planning if we do this thing with Lucia.

KD--I also heard a rumor that there was once again a possibility of Lucia fighting Christy Martin.

SH--Well, whoever told you that knows more than I do so remember who told you that and now you know that person is not dependable.

KD--Do you have any idea of a time frame in which decisions will be made about Lucia fighting a man?

SH--No, we're negotiating still, I have no idea.

KD--Have you got an actual opponent in mind?

SH--No. I'll be receiving tapes in the next thirty days on different people who the guys I'm talking to would like to suggest or will be suggesting. And I'll look at them and see if all of the things that I'm looking for are in there.

KD--So are we talking about within the year 2000?


End of interview.

In the frequent discussions, rows and verbal brawls that surrounded the Seattle Boy-Girl bout, many a fight guy was heard to mutter that the only current woman boxer they could think of who might pack the skills and the strength for genuine competition against a competent male pro is Lucia Rijker. Having similar opinions, I'm disappointed that Hoffman plans such a handicapping strategy for a potential male opponent for Rijker. If that's the way such matches need to be made for one of the dominant female boxers of the age, then Rijker's bout will be just another novelty exhibition like MacGregor vs Chow.

I'm also reminded that there are some outstanding women in the 135 to 140 pound range where Lucia Rijker fights. Sumaya Anani, Israh Girgrah, Tracy Byrd, and Kathy Collins would all be intriguing matchups and serious competition for Rijker. I would rather see her fight any or all of these women than some hand-picked patsy of the male persuasion.


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