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Dinner comes first for Japan's 'Rocky' mum
Updated: 2009-04-17 00:20

TOKYO - Japanese housewife Kazumi Izaki dutifully prepares lunchboxes for her family at the crack of dawn each morning before hitting the gym to take on grown men.

Dinner comes first for Japan's 'Rocky' mum
Forty-six-year-old Japanese female boxer Kazumi Izaki tapes her hands before a training session as she stands in front of a poster of legendary champion Muhammad Ali, at a gym in Tokyo April 11, 2009. [Agencies] 

Izaki, who became Japan's oldest professional boxer last year, could soon overtake George Foreman by winning a world title at the age of 46.

Unlike Foreman, however, Izaki swaps her boxing gloves for an apron at least twice a day, also cooking dinner for her husband and daughters, aged 22 and 15, before evening training.

"I cook dinner every night and then go to the gym about 8," Izaki told Reuters in an interview. "I get up at 5:45 to make the lunchboxes and go to bed about 2:30 in the morning.

"I love cooking. I baked a cake before I came to the gym today. I'm doing grilled mackerel with grated radish tonight. I do try to grab a daytime snooze sometimes though."

Izaki's future has hung in the balance since earlier this year when the World Boxing Council (WBC) ruled she was too old to fight Mexican Ana Maria Torres, 29, for the world superflyweight (up to 115 lbs; 52.1 kg) crown.

"It was a real shock," said Izaki on the balcony of a Tokyo gym. "There were problems over my age when I turned pro last year but we had cleared them so I couldn't believe it."

WBC officials pulled the plug on the February 28 fight on health grounds, fearing she could get hurt by the hard-punching Mexican.

Izaki's managers sent the WBC a video demonstrating she had a solid chin and have since been scrambling to get the bout sanctioned.

"I'm not scared of Torres," said a defiant Izaki, shaking her frizzy hair. "The promoters failed to get the venue changed to Texas so now we're hoping for June or July in Mexico.

"It's annoying me but I won't give up on a world title. I want Torres's belt."

Sat and sulked

The Yokohama-based Izaki, a former aerobics instructor, had been horrified at having to punch someone when she laced up her first pair of gloves 11 years ago, refusing to climb into the ring to spar.

"I just sat in the corner of the room and sulked for 30 minutes," she said with a giggle. "I don't like hitting people and I couldn't do it.

"But this guy was waiting patiently in the ring for me so I tried it. I spar with men -- the first time I hit a woman I left the ring in tears."

Izaki, who has won over half of her 16 fights, added: "I don't mind being hit so much, but I still don't like hitting people. That wasn't the point of boxing for me."

Taping her hands beneath black-and-white photographs of Muhammad Ali at the height of his powers, Izaki is aware of the dangers involved, and has the scars to prove it.

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