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Published May 20, 2012, 08:11 PM

Area woman tries her hand in women's boxing

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- With the rise of Mixed Martial Arts in recent years, boxing has become largely an afterthought. But this summer, "women's" boxing will make its Olympic debut, and one area woman is trying her hand.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- With the rise of Mixed Martial Arts in recent years, boxing has become largely an afterthought. But this summer, "women's" boxing will make its Olympic debut, and one area woman is trying her hand.

Marie Laske: "It's one of the most intense workouts I've ever done. Initially, it was hard getting past that women aren't supposed to hit people."

Marie Laska grew up in Canada as an admitted tomboy. She joined the Canadian army at 17 and spent 12 years in the military. But after moving to Fargo a year and a half ago...

Laska: "I had an incident where I felt completely powerless. I didn't ever want to feel like that again. Wanted to feel stronger."

So Laska enlisted the help of one of the baddest men in the F-M area, former pro boxer and Mixed Martial Artist Jesse Barbot. For the past 4 months, Laska has been training at Barbot's Red River Golden Gloves Boxing gym as the only female!

Any apprehension in being the only female?

Laska: "My guys are supportive. There was a little girl here once that asked me to go on a barbie play date after boxing--funny!"

Jessee Barbot/Former Boxer & MMA Fighter: "She's starting to pack a punch, be a lot stronger puncher...trainers and I have talked and we've found that women boxers seem to pick up the technique much quicker than men."

Laska has enjoyed boxing so much, she's slated to make her amateur debut Saturday in Grafton.

Any idea what to expect?

Laska: "I think I'll put on a good show."

Jessee Barbot: "She'll be very nervous. My first fight I was in a cloud. But her athletic background will help."

Laska's biggest concern might be her Mom, back home in Western Canada.

Laska: "My poor Mom still doesn't, she's not okay with me boxing. She thinks the other guy should get pounded every time I get hit in the head."

Hope to send her a youtube video or something? A knockout maybe?

Laska: "As long as I'm not on the receiving end, yeah!"

Barbot said interest in Red River Golden Gloves boxing has grown steadily in the 2 years since he opened it. The gym has about 40 members.

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