Women boxing

Boxing clever: Headshot, by Rita Bullwinkel, reviewed

Rita Bullwinkel’s knockout debut novel adopts the structure of the boxing tournament it vividly describes. Eight teenage girls are competing in the ‘Daughters of America Cup’ at Bob’s Boxing Palace, Reno. We encounter them in the ring as they progress through four opening rounds and two semis to the final. The author details the exhilarating, pummelling progress of the fights – ‘the hit is quick, like a jump rope whipping forward’ – and the physicality of the girls’ bodies, ‘so close to each other that, from far away they look like two parts of the same animal’. She also nimbly delves beneath the protective headgear into the girls’ interior worlds