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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Girl power: Local female amateur fighters look to make a splash at Saturday’s Brick West Boxing card

Spokane Boxing’s Alexus Seaman, left, and Ruby Lannigan are among the fighters taking part in the Brick West Boxing amateur card on Saturday.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Charlotte McKinley For The Spokesman-Review

Once a rarity in boxing, female athletes are becoming regulars on fight cards.

That’s why, according to Spokane Boxing owner and coach Rick Welliver, the sport has such a solid future.

“Women’s boxing is going to save this sport,” said Welliver, whose gym plays host to Saturday’s Brick West Boxing Series event. Welliver points to Katie Taylor-vs.-Amanda Serrano’s lightweight title fight at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in April as evidence that female boxing is reinvigorating the sport.

Two members of Welliver’s raw but talented female team – Ruby Lannigan, 16, and Alexus Seaman, 11 – will be among the nearly three dozen fighters taking part on the amateur fight card held on the vast patio next to Brick West Brewing Co., 1318 W. First Ave., starting at 4 p.m.

Lannigan, 16, is a rising star who most recently won a bout in the West Coast Wonder Woman Tournament in British Columbia and is 2-0.

She’s scheduled to face Gloria Diaz from Lights Out Boxing in Wenatchee.

On the card, she also faces another challenge: a weight cut to 131.

Lannigan said she walks around at 135 to 145, so the cut is not drastic.

“I’ve just never really had to do that before,” she said. “It’s just kind of an interesting new thing.”

A self-proclaimed “snacker,” Lannigan has been focused on her nutrition and cutting out sugary drinks, but she’s excited for after the fight when she can “have a big feast.”

The task ahead is different for Seaman, 11. The Glover Middle School student, who has been boxing for two years, is coming off a loss in her only other bout.

“I told her, it was OK, you know, and that’s part of learning,” said Seaman’s father, Robert Seaman.

“(After a week) I said, ‘So you want to go back to getting ready for another fight?’ and she didn’t hesitate, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ ”

Seaman regularly trains with fighters who are sometimes twice or even three times her age, but she said that has only made her more confident.

“I think it’s better for me to go with difficult people and push myself,” Seaman said.

Seaman’s father agrees.

“She’s always been my little daredevil,” he said. “She goes full force, and she does it.”

He said he isn’t worried about his daughter’s safety in the ring, thanks to the heavy regulations in amateur boxing.

Athletes must go through a rigorous physical assessment, and weight and blood pressure must be checked before a fight. If one of those conditions does not meet their requirements, the bout is canceled.

“At that age, I just think it’s more or less to keep them active (and) teach them the fundamentals,” he said.

A third member of Welliver’s female team was originally scheduled to fight Saturday, but Morgan Segalla’s fight was canceled because her opponent falsified her weight.

A single mother of two boys, the 26-year-old Segalla is not the typical athlete one would see on a fight card.

“Morgan came to me from another gym and basically said she needed to change and wanted to come to a place where she could take boxing more seriously,” Welliver said.

Fighting as a heavyweight, Segalla has had difficulties finding opponents her size .

“I’ve always been thicker growing up and realizing that a lot of that was muscle mass and just the way that my genetics are,” Segalla said. “And now I’m comfortable with my body, (but) it is (still) hard. I’m hopeful maybe more thick queens will come to the boxing side of things so that I could have a matchup.”

Despite this, Segalla said she never feels pressure from her coaches to cut weight to find a fight.

“If anything, it’s a self-imposed pressure because, being realistic, I do want to get a fight and it is easier to find matches (below heavyweight),” she said. “For this last matchup, I could have fought (a) 220 (-pound opponent), and I’m 186, so that would be a huge difference.”

Segalla said she’s worked hard on having a positive outlook on her body image and letting go of previous toxicity.

“If I get my first fight and I end up not enjoying it, I’m not going to put that pressure on myself to continue if I don’t like it,” Segalla said.

She can count on support from her coach. Welliver, whose gym is located near Brick West at 115 S. Jefferson St., beams with pride when talking about his female fighters.

“I really think the future of women’s boxing, with what I’m seeing in my gym … it’s going to be a global sport,” Welliver said.

Segalla agrees.

“I think not only can a lot of the women hold up with these men in sparring, and boxing and all these things, but they’re also carrying a lot more weight at home in their personal lives at work,” she said.

“I think we just have a lot that we feel we have to prove to ourselves and our community.”