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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview with Lisa Foster

Aired June 18, 2003 - 20:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. In Tampa, police are investigating the death of a 30-year-old woman after an amateur Toughman fight, that's what they call it, Toughman.
Stacy Young suffered swelling and bleeding in her brain during the bout that occurred on Saturday night was disconnected from life support yesterday. The founder of Toughman, Art Dore, says his competition has, quote, "The best safety record among all forms of boxing but that doesn't address the sadness and grief we share with Stacy Young's family."

Still the incident is raising questions about these fights and about women's boxing in general.

Joining us live from Washington is world champion boxer Lisa Foster. She says she's bothered by the way this story is being covered.

Lisa, thanks very much for being with us.

LISA FOSTER, BOXING CHAMPION: Hi, thank you.

COOPER: What in particular bothers you about the way the story is being covered?

Do think it gives a bad name to women's boxing?

FOSTER: Most definitely. I noticed that -- I was actually on the Internet last night and I saw a pop-up, you know, a news ad, and it says, "Women's amateur boxer fatally killed in amateur boxing match." And that really upset me. When I went to get the story, and pulled up some articles, I came to find out that it was the Toughman competition.

COOPER: For those who don't know what the difference is between the say the Toughman competition and an amateur women's boxing.

FOSTER: Well, in amateur women's boxing, and in amateur boxing in general the training is much different. I mean, most of the time you would get a tough woman from basically anywhere. They go and just say, hey, look, would you like to participate in this tough woman fight? And they'll come on and say, sure. It's like a once in a lifetime thing, a lot of times.

But for women's boxing, I mean for myself, speaking, I train every day except for Sunday. And extensively to hold down my world title and, you know, strengthen women's boxing as a whole in the amateur and professional, you know...

COOPER: And you use different equipment than they do in these so-called Toughman competitions.

FOSTER: Yes. Much different.

COOPER: What kind of equipment?

FOSTER: Our equipment is -- it's a regulated form of equipment that all amateur boxers must use.

COOPER: Do you have some of it with you?

FOSTER: Yes, we do. I'm a professional boxer. But we use -- professional boxers actually train, because we hit a little harder. So with the -- it's a little heavier. And it's more protected. And it has the face closed in, and the ear guards and the chin strap. It's really secure. And they come in about ten ounces. This is, you know, I'm not saying that you can't get hurt with this, but it's much safer than what they use.

This is an amateur competitive head gear. It's ten ounces. It must have the amateur logo here to -- the certified seal in order to use it to even box. So there are regulations and standards for women's boxing, and boxing, and amateur boxing in general. Also, these are the chest protectors that we use, just to give you a little bit more extensive view on what we do. These are the chest protectors. You just place them inside of your protective bra. And...

COOPER: Do they wear that in the other competitions?

FOSTER: I really don't think so. You know, basically if you're coming off the street, you don't have any equipment, and I am pretty sure they don't buy it for them.

COOPER: Would you like to see these Toughman competitions stopped once and for all?

FOSTER: No. I just would like them to not be compared to women's boxing. That's my concerned. Because I'm training very hard every day to uplift it. Some day I would like to see it in the Olympics, you know. Women boxing...

COOPER: You're saying this certainly doesn't do any help.

FOSTER: And this -- two -- two steps forward and four steps back, and that's what we're doing.

COOPER: I appreciate you coming in, Lisa. Appreciate you talking to us and talk about some of the differences.

Lisa Foster, thank you very much.

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