Boxing: Female debut "awesome" for U.S. fighter
By Padraic Halpin
LONDON (Reuters) - Six months after revealing she had been abused by her father for years as a child, Quanitta 'Queen' Underwood just wants to talk boxing, and can hardly contain her excitement knowing that she is about to be one of the first women to box in the Olympics.
The U.S. lightweight has been at London's boxing arena each day since the Games began, supporting teammates and soaking up the atmosphere. The butterflies in her stomach get more intense the closer she gets to Sunday's opening bout.
That's when the 28-year-old pipefitter from Seattle and 35 other women will break into the last all-male sport at the summer Games and look to prove wrong any remaining doubters who say women have no place in the ring.
"We're going to come out and shock and stun the whole world," Underwood, hair braided and wearing one of the biggest smiles in London, told Reuters late on Sunday after watching Errol Spence make it four wins from four for the American men.
"Everybody's thinking 'What are these ladies going to look like when they fight?'. It's just going to be awesome. This should have happened a long time ago but when we get on the platform, it's going to get a lot of respect," she adds, laughing giddily at the prospect.
Last February, Underwood detailed for the first time how, as a 10-year-old, she would lie in bed as her father molested her older sister Hazzauna in the same room.
She told the New York Times that when Hazzauna and her step-mother were out of the house, Assad Underwood would abuse her too. When she was 13, the sisters spoke out against their father and he was jailed for seven years.
Underwood doesn't want to discuss the abuse now. Her concentration is fully on the Games, so much so that she has left her beloved bulldog with dog sitters for the last few months in order to step up her training. Continued...