As part of Black History Month, Caroline Dubois has shared with Sky Sports News about her boxing career and the sportswomen who have influenced her. Dubois, a 22-year-old professional boxer, has already achieved great success in her career, including winning the Youth Olympic champion and four European Youth Championships. She has started her professional career on a high note, with five wins by knockout and three wins by decision in her first eight fights, recently earning her the IBO lightweight belt. In honor of this year’s Black History Month theme, ‘Saluting our Sisters’, Dubois spoke about four Black sportswomen who have inspired her: Claressa Shields, Coco Gauff, Simone Biles, and Laila Ali.
Dubois considers fellow boxer Claressa Shields as her first role model. Shields, the only fighter in the history of the sport to hold all four major world titles in two weight classes simultaneously, has had a significant impact on Dubois. Shields’ achievements, including winning gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, were particularly inspiring for Dubois, who recalls feeling insecure about her appearance and identity as a young Black girl. Shields’ success and representation in the sport made Dubois feel that being herself was normal and valid.
Dubois also discussed the challenges she faced when she first started boxing, including being mistaken for a boy and having to hide her identity to enter a boys-only boxing club. Seeing Shields, who resembled her in terms of appearance and style, provided Dubois with the validation she needed and showed her that her uniqueness was acceptable and celebrated.
Dubois fondly remembers her first interaction with Shields, receiving a message from her on Instagram and being ecstatic about it. She admires Shields’ confidence and compares her to Muhammad Ali in terms of self-confidence and proving herself in the sport. Dubois believes that Shields will go down in history as the greatest female boxer of all time.
The next sportswoman who has influenced Dubois is tennis player Coco Gauff. Dubois, who is a fan of various sports, was drawn to Gauff’s achievements at a young age, including defeating the Williams sisters and winning the US Open. Dubois acknowledges the pressure and challenges Gauff has faced in the tennis world, especially as a young Black athlete breaking barriers in a predominantly white sport.
Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, is another role model for Dubois. She admires Biles’ incredible skills and achievements in gymnastics, including winning multiple World Championships and Olympic medals. Biles’ journey from a young age and her resilience in the face of pressure and expectations impress Dubois, who respects anyone who can achieve greatness at a young age.
Dubois also commends Biles for prioritizing her mental well-being and opening up about her struggles. Biles’ decision to prioritize her mental health during the Tokyo Olympics and her return to competition following a break inspire Dubois, who believes that athletes should be applauded for addressing their problems and challenges.
In conclusion, Caroline Dubois looks up to Claressa Shields, Coco Gauff, Simone Biles, and Laila Ali as her sporting idols who have influenced her boxing career. These four Black sportswomen serve as inspirations for Dubois, who admires their achievements, representation, and resilience in their respective sports.