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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Jane Couch

Posted on April 7, 2016                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Born on August 14 1968 in Fleetwood, England, Jane Couch was a pioneer in British professional boxing, as she became the first woman to be officially licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control in 1998. The BBBC had initially refused to license her because of her gender, claiming that PMS made women too unstable to box.

But Couch, who credits boxing for keeping her out of major trouble, had the BBBC decision overturned by tribunal, claiming sexual discrimination and supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission, and thereby paved the way for future British female professional boxers.

Couch has four victories in the UK recorded well before the BBBC was forced to allow female boxing on shows they sanction. While they are, and were, the main controlling body in Britain, the BBBC has no legal monopoly on sanctioning professional boxing, and it is unclear to this writer who sanctioned those early bouts.

In May 1996 Couch traveled to Denmark, where she beat Sandra Geiger (1-0) from France on points for the WIBF World Light Welterweight title in only her fifth bout. Geiger had won the vacant title in her pro debut three months earlier, which shows that female boxing was not of the same standard back then as it is today.

In 1997 and the early part of 1998 “The Fleetwood Assassin” moved her career to the USA, fighting four times in that period. She defended her WIBF crown twice, stopping Andrea DeShong (13-3-1) and out-pointing Leah Mellinger (3-2-1), before losing twice to Dora Webber (2-1-3), the second defeat being for the vacant IWBF title.

Back in the UK, after winning her battle with the BBBC, her career started to take off and she returned with a stoppage victory over German Simona Lukic (1-4-1) on November 25, 1998. In February 1999 she made her third successful WIBF title defense against Marischa Sjauw (8-3-1) from Holland, who would herself go on to capture three world titles.

On October 31 of 1999, Couch added the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Lightweight title to her resume, when she scored a unanimous decision over undefeated Australian Sharon Anyos (3-0), as part of a WBF triple-header at the David Lloyd Tennis Centre in Raynes Park, London.

She only made one defense of the WBF World Lightweight title, stopping tough but limited Bulgarian Galina Gumliiska (4-4) in six rounds in July 2000. Her next world championship fight came two years later, when she returned to Light Welterweight and lost by fourth round TKO to Sumya Anani (19-1-1) for the WIBA belt in Texas.

But Couch rebounded well, returned to winning ways less than six weeks later and lined up a crack at the vacant WBF World Light Welterweight title in December 2002. At the Thistle Hotel in Bristol, she won a landslide decision over Borislava Goranova (2-3) from Bulgaria to become a two-time WBF title-holder.

After two more victories Couch returned to the USA, but again came up short as Lucia Rijker (15-0), widely considered one of the best female boxers of all time, beat her on points over eight rounds on the undercard of Lennox Lewis vs. Vitali Klitschko in Los Angeles on June 21, 2003.

Still the WBF champion, she defended her title exactly three months later, on September 21, with another wide decision, as American Brenda Drexler (5-19-2) could not keep up with her work-rate over ten hard rounds. This would be the last WBF title fight for Couch, but by no means the end of a magnificent career.

Before officially retiring in December 2008, one year after her last fight, she went on to fight some of the biggest names in the sport, including Myriam Lamare (10-0), Holly Holm (14-1-2) and Anne Sophie Mathis (16-1), who all later became World Boxing Federation (WBF) world champions.

While Couch lost to that trio, she won one last world championship in 2004, the WIBF Light Welterweight, beating Jaime Clampitt (13-2) on points in America. This fight was so ferocious, it was called “Womens Fight Of The Year” by Ring Magazine.

Former WBF Womens World Lightweight and Light Welterweight Champion Jane “The Fleetwood Assassin” Couch ended her career in the ring with a 28-11 (9) record, and after winning five world championships. She has since stayed in boxing, working among other things as a promoter.

Already in In 2001, while still active, she published an autobiography called "Fleetwood Assassin. Man or Woman, if you take me on you’re history!”.

In the 2004 Queens Birthday Honours, Couch was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), and in 2012 she received the Awakening Outstanding Contribution Award for her part played in raising public awareness and acceptance of female fighters.

  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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