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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Despite boxing being a brutal combat sport, there is something beautiful about it. There is a rhythm, grace and power to it that has draw people in for thousands of years.
Philly native Lynne Carter was drawn to the sport and helped along by a legend, and she herself became one in the process.
Boxing has long been seen as a man’s sports. Carter sees it a different way. In fact, she’s been looking at it from another angle since 1982 when she became one of the sport’s first female judges.
“In 1982, I started in Philly. I got my license pretty quick. My whole goal was to get to Atlantic City,” Carter said
But as a woman, getting there was a tough task in a male-dominated arena.
“From Philadelphia, in the beginning, they didn’t even want me to put in for a license,” Carter said. “And when I was in Atlantic City I would hear ‘whats that woman know?'”
That woman didn’t know much about the sport early on, but was taught the ropes by a legend, Smokin’ Joe Frazier.
“I actually had to get in the ring with him,” Carter said. “He said ‘I’m gonna show you how to fight. I don’t know about that other stuff, but I know how to fight.'”
From there, her status grew. After becoming the first African American female to officiate in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Carter established herself as one of the elite judges in the sport.
“I did Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, their first fight way back then,” she said. “I did some of Tyson’s. But that’s before he became the champion.”
Over 35 years later, Lynne has judged 750-plus bouts across six continents.
“Boxing has been so good to me,” Carter said. “I have been to South Africa about eight times. I love it there.”
“I’ve been to Italy, I’ve been to Japan, I’ve been to Ireland, to UK. I’ve been to so many places that I never would have been able to go to if it wasn’t for boxing,” Carter said.
Carter has crossed paths with many of the greats. And she’s hoping that her story brings other women to the sport. In the meantime, she won’t stop striving for more.
“Every woman I’ve ever worked with, I say ‘we have to make sure we’re the best. Because we’re still a woman,'” Carter said.
Carter is also very involved in the community, working with autistic children, while also becoming a political activist in Philadelphia.
But her true love is boxing and it has taken her around the world,.