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Tijuana Sisters Bust Up Masculine World Of Boxing

Before warming up for her first title bout, Kenia Enriquez sat against a wall sewing the fight sponsor’s logo onto her boxing skirt.

“When do you think you’ll ever see a guy doing this?” she asked in Spanish.

A few hours later, Enriquez knocked out her opponent, Jolene Blackshear, and became the North American Boxing Federation junior flyweight champion.

Enriquez, 20, from Tijuana, is rated fifth in the world in her weight division by some boxing organizations. Her sister, Tania, who’s 17, has fought two bouts as a pro and won both.

Only in recent decades has the male-dominated sport of boxing begun to accept the idea of women in the ring. Just two years ago women were finally allowed to box in the Olympics.

One of the world’s hot spots for female boxing is Tijuana.

“Tijuana has become in the last couple of years the second busiest female fight town in the world only behind Buenos Aires, Argentina,” said Felipe León, international editor for Fightnews.com.

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As women’s boxing gains in popularity, female fighters are advocating for better pay and conditions. Women typically make half or less what men make.

“We throw the same punches, we train the same way, we win or lose the same way, but we don’t get paid the same,” Enriquez said.

KPBS followed the Enriquez sisters into the ring and into their home to see how these Tijuanenses are changing the masculine world of boxing.

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