Thirty years ago, one would be hard pressed to find someone who believed that a woman could have a career in boxing. It seemed almost impossible for a woman to land in the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
Well, Jamilla Lawrence is a woman who earned the impossible, even though it was almost accidental.
“When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine being a boxer because boxing was considered a male sport,” said Lawrence, 53, “I really fell into the sport. I started because I was interested in the discipline of the sport.
“I didn’t like where my life was heading, so I decided to do something about it. I walked into a gym one day and fell into the sport. I loved the science of it. I loved how it affected the body. That is why I still train to this day. Ultimately, the sport led to a healthy lifestyle.”
Lawrence was selected for the Hall of Fame because she was walking history. She was the first professional female boxer from Atlantic City. “My record [9-5] was misleading. During that time, it was hard to find someone with whom to fight. So, everyone I fought was world class."
She said that she was promised a shot at the title, but it never materialized.
However, Lawrence didn’t let it phase her. She had a plan, and she knew how to work it. She took the money she made from boxing and used it to go to cosmetology school. While she became a barber by trade, the former bantam weight, had a larger vision. She became a loctican who is a cosmetologist who specializes in locs.
Always working to reach new heights, the Atlantic City native became an entrepreneur that would fulfill two dreams at one time. She opened her own shop in Atlantic City and named it Violet Mae’s, to honor her great grandmother.
Lawrence is extremely proud of the fact that she took a life that could have gone very wrong and lives a life of purpose and achievement. That is the making of a champion.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame's Seventh Annual Awards & Induction weekend will be held Friday Sept. 29-Sunday Oct. 1 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. To buy tickets click here.
Fighters: George Foreman, Shamone Alvarez Sr., Shannon Briggs, Doug Dewitt, Jamillia Lawrence, Tracy Harris Patterson, Pinklon Thomas, David Tua, and Darroll Wilson
Contributors: Arnold Robbins (Trainer & Manager), Matt Howard (Advisor), Joe Hand Sr. (Promoter), Lee Samuels (Public Relations), Rudy Battle (Referee), Benjy Esteves Jr. (Referee), and Joseph Santoliquito (Media).
Posthumously: Buster Drayton (Fighter) and Marty Feldman (Trainer & Manager)
Pioneers: Horace M. Leeds (Fighter), Joe Miller (Promoter}, Rocky Castellani (Fighter/Official), “KO” Becky O’Neil (Manager) Willie O’Neill (Trainer) and Frankie Polo (Fighter)
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