By Sylvana Ambrosanio

I interviewed the German queen of the featherweight division in 2009, Ina Menzer check out what she had to say.

SA: how did you start being involved in boxing?

IM: I started boxing at the age of 16.  Actually I never thought about boxing, because I always thought boxing is not a sport for women.  I saw boxing as too hard and too brutal.  My Brothers wanted to start with the sport of boxing and I just went with them to the gym, I was curious myself and just started it with them.  I really liked it.  With my current trainer, Waldemar Altergott. I have determined that boxing is so much more. It is concentration, good skills, you need speed, a good eye, strategy, fairness and respect for the opponent. 

SA: Any news when your next fight will be?

IM: I don’t have anyone in particular that I’d like to fight. My next fight is planned for May, 2nd in Bremen, Germany.

Who were your inspirations in the sport of boxing?

IM: I was always interested in martial arts. It wasn’t really boxing that affected me it was karate/kung-fu. What I like most at the sport of boxing is the miscellaneousness, you train everything, it doesn’t matter if it’s the muscles, the eyes or the skills. The training never gets boring. What motivates me are my changes, I don’t want to be just on one spot. With every fight I try to show something new.  I always try to improve to be better with my methods and optimize them. 

SA: Did your last fight against Esther Schouten go as you expected?   

IM: Everything went how I wanted it to, I just fought like the game plan I had and it worked. (to fight the long distance)

SA: What are your short and long term goals?

IM: I don’t plan beyond the future but I hope that I’ll keep well and fit and to show the viewers and boxing fans very good fights.

SA: How do you deal with being a woman in a male dominated sport? 

IM: Actually, I don’t really have a problem with being in a male dominated sport. I practically grew up in this male dominated sport. (I have trained with men since I was 14years old) I also think it depends on yourself; it’s up to you how you act and handle anything. Sure you have to fight to get a place in the team, especially as a woman being in this male dominated area. It starts with you being accepted because of who you are and your personality and not just being a woman. I get a lot of letters, messages from young girls – they ask for me any advice or tips.

SA: Do you think it’s hard for women in boxing?

IM: I think good boxing doesn’t depend on the gender and this might be unfortunately the reason why it’s not always easy for a woman. A lot of people don’t know anything or a lot about this sport, and as soon as they hear “Women's  boxing” they answer: 'No, I don’t want to watch it' – in the past they were sure that the woman didn't have enough knowledge and experience to show a good boxing fight. Today it’s totally different and many people already changed their minds and opinion, especially a lot of boxing experts! 

SA: What does your training look like? 

IM: 6 days a week, 4 days at a time 2 units a day and 2 days 1 units. 1 unit takes 2-3hours. I train a lot in conditioning, strength, sandbag, my training is very intense. I like training with a partner like sparing because for me it’s a new challenge and it’s fun. I like hitting the mitts.

SA: You work with a different project besides boxing “All Kids are VIP’s!”. What can we do to make a change?

IM: WE can’t do a lot but we can give advice and support. It depends on the ones who are affected to work on their selves. It starts with the language. You can’t just sit there and do nothing and expect other people to do it (for example the state). They have to take the fate into their own hands and work on everything.

SA: What do you do in your free time to relax or for fun?

IM: I like going to the sauna, reading and hanging out with my family and friends.

SA: What can we expect from you in the near future?  

IM: I hope good fights, and interesting performances in and outside of the ring. I’d like to thank all my fans for the support.