Sun | Sep 24, 2023

‘Slick’ still in a daze

Ashley finds Boxing Hall of Fame nod incredulous

Published:Thursday | June 8, 2023 | 1:38 AMLeroy Brown/Gleaner Writer
Alicia Ashley (right) lands with a right uppercut during a World Boxing Council super batamweight title fight against American Christina Ruiz in Bronx, New York, on July 23 2011.
Alicia Ashley (right) lands with a right uppercut during a World Boxing Council super batamweight title fight against American Christina Ruiz in Bronx, New York, on July 23 2011.

“I AM still wondering if I am dreaming, and that I will wake up to find that it was all in my imagination or some sort of April Fool’s joke,” said Alicia ‘Slick’ Ashley when she spoke with The Gleaner yesterday about her induction into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame, at Canastota, New York, on Sunday.

She will be one of five boxers in the Class of 2023. The others are Tim Bradley Jr from the United States, Carl Froch from Britain, and Rafael Marquez and Laura Serrano from Mexico, who, like Ashley, are multititle boxing world champions.

Ashley, who was inducted into the Female Boxing Hall of Fame in 2021, said that she was still in a daze but is looking forward to the Hall of Fame weekend, which runs from today through to Sunday, and all the activities that have been planned for the inductees, their families, and friends.

Ashley told The Gleaner that her road to boxing stardom must be one of the strangest in boxing history because for most of her career, she held a full-time job, mainly because the purses paid to female boxers were not substantial enough for them to live a comfortable life. Fortunately, she said, she had a career as a computer technician to live off while she pursued her love for boxing.


Her first love, interestingly, though, was dancing, and she had planned to follow in the footsteps of her father, who was a professional dancer. Torn menisci put an end to that dream, and as part of her healing process, she went into the martial arts. Her brother, Devon, was a kick-boxing champion, and she was drafted to that sport by him as part of her recovery programme. She then took up boxing to help her become a better kick-boxer, fell in love with it, and eventually moved into that sport fully.

In the meantime, she got a degree in computer systems, and on graduating, landed a job with a legal company. In the background, all along, was her love for boxing, and she was able to indulge on a part-time basis.

She became an amateur boxer at age 28, which was unusual, and a professional when she was nearly 32, which was shocking at the time.

With a laugh, she said: “People thought that I was crazy as no one, they said, became a professional boxer at that age. But I ignored them and met with success. I developed the mantra ‘hit and not be hit”, hence my nickname ‘Slick’, and I went on to do something that I love and in which I was successful.”

Ashley said she has enjoyed winning world titles and awards such as the Guinness Awards for being the oldest female boxing champion twice.

Her biggest disappointment, she said, was the purse money paid to female fighters, and it is something she has spoken about and will continue to until it changes, she said.

The largest purse that she received for a title fight, she reflected, was US$30, 000, which she thinks was a shame.

Female boxing is becoming more popular each year, she pointed out, and her hope is that there will be considerable improvement in that regard shortly. One of the thrills on Sunday, she said, will be to be inducted with her rival and friend Laura Serrano.

“She beat me when we met, but we respect each other, and I am really looking forward to seeing her.

“It will really be a day to remember, and I am so ready to enjoy it and add those memories to my rich collection of joyous moments in boxing.”