WASHINGTON — International boxing champions met their match Monday at
Washington Children’s Hospital. The boxers hooked up with brave kids fighting
their lives against cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
“I think the kids are braver than we are. Our fights last a very short time.
Their (fights) usually last years,” declares Alicia “Slick” Ashley, a former
super bantamweight world champion, who hopes to regain her title next year.
The boxers signed autographs and posed for pictures with the kids. And the
loved the attention, flashing big smiles and wearing shiny medals given to
by the boxers.
While the pros were there to inspire the kids, it seems that for at least one
the fighters the tables were turned.
“This is really inspiring to see these young kids fighting with all the
and bravery that they have. They’re the ones that are really brave. We choose
fight, they don’t choose the fight that they have,” says heavyweight Chaz
Witherspoon, the 2004 National Golden Glove champion and a member of the 2004
U.S. Olympic team whose professional record is 31 wins, 23 knockouts and 3
The boxers’ visit precedes Thursday’s “Fight Night” at the Washington Hilton
an annual fundraiser for Washington Children’s Hospital that features boxing
matches, auctions and entertainment.
Among the boxers visiting the children were five-time champion Roberto Duran
former welterweight woman’s champ Mia “The Knockout” St. John.
Watching the pros mingle with the kids, Dr. Kurt Newman, president and CEO of
Children’s National Health System, could not help but compare the boxers and
“There’s a big similarity between the boxing — the fighters who have had to
overcome a lot to get to the championship level — and these kids and their
families who are fighting against hardship. When they get together you can
feel the bonds and it’s just wonderful to see,” Newman says.