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Extraordinary People: Female fighters knock out stereotypes

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Port City Boxing boasts some excellent fighters, but you may not expect some of its top contenders to be women. These girls with gloves bring fierce determination to the ring.

At one time, Antoinette Smith thought she would become a cheerleader. That is until she discovered boxing. By 11 years old, she was training to get in the ring.

“I like hitting on people and getting my frustrations out,” Smith said.

The now 19-year-old is just one of several women who come to Port City Boxing every week. And don’t let their feminine ways fool you, these women pack a powerful punch.

Coach Andre helps suit the ladies up. Once in the ring, they warm up by what is called “shadow boxing.” Every step is strategic. Every punch is thrown with precision.

Single mom of two Shaniqua Marshall, 28, says surprisingly she’s not a tomboy. She started boxing to get in shape.

“It was one thing that I could do for myself. Something I could say honestly this is for me that I could work hard towards and just have me time,” Marshall said.

And then there’s Lateshia Darden, 20. She’s a two-time National Golden Gloves champ.

Coach Andre says the female fighters stand out from the men.

“They take pride in their craft. They are perfectionists at what they do,” Coach Andre said. “When I say be here, they’re here.”

Knocking out stereotypes, these girls can certainly hold their own. And when you say ring, they’re not thinking jewelry.

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