Astrophysicist takes up gloves to empower women

Friday, March 16, 2018

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Not very often does a bright, educated young female scientist can be caught in a boxing ring, and Jamaica will have the unique experience of witnessing Italian Federico Bianco take on Rewinna Davis of Guyana at the National Arena today.

The 39-year-old Bianco, also known as the “Mad Scientist”, will face off with 22-year-old Davis, known as the “Baby Faced Assassin,” in a bantamweight (118 lbs) encounter over six rounds.

Bianco's fight will be one of seven fights on the international fight night promoted by former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield of the United States.

The feature bout will pit Jamaican Kemahl “The Hitman” Russell, the 2015 Wray & Nephew Contender champion, against Mexican Jorge Michael “Michi” Munoz.

Bianco, who has her PhD in astrophysics (the study of stars and galaxies in the field of astronomy), puts her body on the line for women causes.

“I am all about empowering women. I teach all women sparring classes. It is very hard for women to like find sparring partners to be taken seriously, so we have to spar with guys. So it's an all-woman sparring class, and the profit from that go to the Refugee Women Commission of New York and any profits that I make from professional fights will also go to that. But I don't make a lot from fighting at all,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“I am a scientist, an astrophysicist and that's my day job. I teach at the New York University and boxing is also my job, my passion, and in some ways they are similar. They are both male-dominated fields and they both require a lot of discipline and a lot of hard work,” she emphasised.

Bianco, who was born in Genova, Italy, has been boxing for eight years, but has only turned professional in 2015 and has a record of three wins and a loss.

She finds fascinating the feedback she receives as “an educated female boxer”.

“Most people love the fact and curiosity of a scientist in boxing and it makes me more relatable to them. I knew people have a view of boxing as a violent sport, a few scientists, for example, that I met and they are concerned about it,” she explained.

“But it's a very mental sport. It's all about what you are doing mentally in the fight. It's not all a violent sport, but most people appreciate the unusual marrying of a scientist and boxing,” said Bianco with a smile.

She has won the Amateur 2012 Central Coast Bantamweight Championship and a silver medal in the 2013 New York Golden Gloves, and that she claims is a source of fascination for her students.

“Last fight I had was last September and all the students had a link and were watching it and they were just excited about it,” said Bianco.

“It's all about improving yourself and doing better and getting to the next event, whether it's a belt (world title) and that would be awesome, and I really hope for that in the future,” she ended.

— Howard Walker

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