Editor’s note: Because of visa troubles and changed team travel plans, the schedule of events planned for an international women’s boxing tournament set for April 20 through April 25 at the Buckhead Fight Club has changed, promoter Terri Moss says.
The new schedule features teams of women boxers from China and the U.S. meeting head-to-head, she said. Other international boxers had been expected to take part, producing a round-robin tournament, she said, but those teams now are no longer scheduled to appear.
The new schedule calls for exhibitions on April 21 and 23 and a series of matches on April 25.
“It definitely was a disappointment in the beginning, but I’ve taken the best attitude possible … It’s still a ground-breaking event,” Moss said.
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Terri Moss says she sort of stumbled into boxing.
“A friend of mine wanted to learn how to do it,” she said, so Moss, who had studied to be a teacher and ended up working in law enforcement, went along for a visit to a local boxing gym. “I just went in and worked out and maybe three months later, I was there and she was gone.”
What was the appeal? “There’s something badass about being able to fight and being a girl,” Moss said with a laugh.
Fifteen or so years after her introduction to boxing, Moss still hangs out at the gym. In fact, she owns the place now. The former pro champion boxer, known as “The Boss” in the ring, is boss of her own place, the Buckhead Fight Club, which is actually located in the basement of a shopping center on Buford Highway in Brookhaven.
Now a 49-year-old grandmother, she trains other, younger fighters these days. But she keeps an assortment of padded gloves in a ringside gym bag and she says she only officially retired from boxing about a year ago. “I gave my headgear to one of the boys,” she said. “This signifies my retirement.”
Next month, Moss’ gym will host an international boxing event she says will attract Olympic-caliber women boxers from around the world.
USA Boxing’s Women’s International Clash of Champions, scheduled April 20 through April 25, is set to bring teams of boxers from China, Bulgaria, the U.S. and other countries to compete in a round-robin tournament. About 40 athletes, including Americans Claressa Shields and Marlen Espinoza, both medalists in the 2012 Olympics, are scheduled to take part, Moss said.
“It’s a big deal,” said Moss, who also puts together local “Corporate Fight Nights.” “Some of these boxers are going to be seen in the Olympics on television. We know that. We just can’t say which ones.”
Moss said she intends to give the visiting fighters a taste of American boxing, “an all-American sports experience.” “American sports are huge,” Moss said. “[Sports] are large in other countries, too, but American sports have a certain level of excitement and noise and chaos.”
She thinks her gym will show visiting boxers something different than what they’re used to. The atmosphere in her gym is different, she said, from the quiet, dignified boxing gyms she’s seen when traveling overseas.
Her 15,000-square-foot facility is decorated with graffiti and bright street-art-style murals. Moss calls the décor “an urban American theme.” One recent morning, Sam and Dave’s “Hold On I’m Coming” and other rhythm-and-blues tunes blared from the PA. “There’s a lot in this little bitty basement,” Moss said.
“They’ll come down to this underground fight club in a parking lot on Buford Highway, the melting pot of Atlanta,” she said. “I hope to let them see what it feels like to be in America and an American boxer.”
And while they’re there, she said, she plans to feed them home-cooked Mexican food, Philly-style cheese-steak sandwiches and breakfast from the International House of Pancakes.
Moss came to boxing late. She was 36 years old when she made her pro debut, she said. Although some folks told her she was too old to box, she fought for five more years. “Some of us just love the sport,” she said.
She named her gym after a cult movie and has decorated parts of it with quotes from the film, but she sees the Buckhead Fight Club as a family place. “Whole families spend every evening here,” she said. “A lot of it is because of the community that comes to this gym. I really think that because it’s run by women, it gives it different vibe.”
“I love being in the gym,” she said. And it shows.
“I’m almost 50 years old,” she said, “and I skip around the gym like a little kid.”