Cover Girl Model Wins Olympic Boxing Match

Cover Girl model Marlen Esparza was the first American woman to win an Olympic boxing match.

Cover Girl model Marlen Esparza was the first American woman to win an Olympic boxing match.

YahooNews (“Marlen Esparza, Cover Girl model, is 1st U.S. woman to win Olympic boxing match“):

One day after Queen Underwood became the first U.S. woman to appear in an Olympic boxing match, her teammate Marlen Esparza became the first U.S. woman to win one.

And, incidentally, the first Cover Girl model as well.

Esparza defeated Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela in a women’s flyweight division bout on Monday, 24-16, advancing to the semifinals on Wednesday and a match against top-seeded favorite Cancan Ren of China at ExCeL Centre.

The victory guarantees that Esparza will medal in London. The format for boxing has each of the four semifinalists earning a medal, with the winners vying for gold and silver while the semifinal losers both earn bronze.

Esparza, 23, gained fame before the London Games as a model for Cover Girl, thanks in part to her pre-match ritual: applying a light base of makeup with some blush and mascara. According to People magazine, she also “puts on perfume before a fight, [and] makes sure to exfoliate and hydrate her skin.”
So, at the very least, her face is well maintained before someone punches it.

Here’s an example Cover Girl shoot:

To dismiss her as a Cover Girl model is, of course, unfair. Indeed, she’s a model precisely because she gained notoriety as a boxer.

Still, aside from being mildly amusing, it’s interesting to note how quickly American standards of female beauty have evolved. Twenty–certainly twenty-five–years ago, athletic women were hardly the ideal. Women who were taller than 5’9″ or so were self-conscious and women who were muscular were considered “manly.” Now, female boxers are cover models and female soccer and volleyball players are marketed as sex symbols to help draw male viewers. While not exactly the same as being viewed in the same way as male athletes, it’s a marked turn for the better.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Sports, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Yes, it’s so much better for women now that they can be judged on a slightly wider spectrum of attractiveness.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Rufus T. Firefly: I don’t think it appropriate that women be judged solely on the basis of their appearance. Increasingly, they’re not. At the same time, it’s a good thing that the acceptable boundaries of female beauty are expanding, especially in the direction that’s healthy.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Shouldn’t they borrow uniforms from the women’s beach volleyball team? I mean, if they want women’s boxing to draw an audience.

  4. Nikki says:

    Increasingly, they’re not.

    The intensity of the politicization of women’s health issues begs to differ.

  5. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m sorry, let me rephrase that. It’s so much better for men now that the supply of wank material has been broadened by the increased acceptance of “alternative” forms of female beauty.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have only known a few ugly women, and it had nothing to do with their looks.