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Risk In The Ring

by Laural Porter

kgw.com

Posted on November 28, 2005 at 7:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:34 PM

If you saw "Million Dollar Baby", you know Clint Eastwood probably didn't intend for his Academy Award winning film to increase the popularity of women's boxing.

But it seems it has... at least in part.
Women's Boxing is now one of the fastest growing sports in the world... some say "the" fastest.

On Tuesday night at 11pm (11/29), I'll take you into the boxing ring here in Oregon.

Along with the incredibly talented photojournalist, Kurt Austin, we'll take a close look at a recent fight you might have heard about between two women boxers in Oregon.


50-year old grandma Linda Shampang from Eugene and 35-year old Portland boxer Jennie Houts met for their professional boxing debut last June.

Jennie was 15 years younger and four inches taller than Linda. But Linda was in incredible shape for her age and both agreed to the fight.

The Oregon Boxing Commission approved it.

However, the fight had a near fatal ending, with Linda falling into a coma shortly after the bout.

Our story will track Linda's remarkable comeback, and share Jennie's thoughts on what happened, and how it changed her life and attitude toward boxing.

Linda and her husband,Rocky, now think there may need to be changes in the rules and regulations for professional women's boxing.

Is 50 too old to box?

Neurologists say an older person's brain can't take the same kind of punches a younger person might.

Are women being rushed into the ring too quickly, because there are so few professional women boxers in Oregon, just over a dozen?

Oregon Senator Vicki Walker is now considering asking the Governor's office to conduct an independent review of the fight between Shampang and Houts.

Linda doesn't regret fighting Jennie. It was her dream. Boxing is still in her blood. Surprisingly, Linda tells me she'd fight again given the chance. (The Boxing Commission won't let her.)

There is a great amount of personal choice here, but does more need to be done to ensure the safety of women boxers?

You be the judge after you watch "Risk in the Ring" Tuesday night at 11pm on Newschannel 8.

If you miss the story you can watch it on KGW.com beginning Wednesday morning.

Thanks for watching.
LAURAL PORTER

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