NEW YORK -- A former women's lightweight boxing champ said Sunday she was fighting mad in spite of a nearly month-long hunger strike and was ready to take on top boxing promotor Don King.
Marian 'Lady Tyger' Trimiar said she has not eaten since April 1 in a do-or-die battle to win more respect -- and more prize money -- for women in boxing.
'It's my heart. It's my love,' explained Trimiar, who is striking in appearance with a shaved head and distinctive features.
Trimiar said she and supporters would picket King's East Side Manhattan office Tuesday to press for an ambitious list of demands.
King could not be reached Sunday for comment, but in previous statements he has defended women in the ring.
But Trimiar said, 'Unless women get more recognition, we will be fighting just as a novelty for the rest of our lives. There will be no future.'
Already the pugilist has lost close to 30 pounds since starting her water-only fast. Now at 170 pounds, she said she had 'bulked up' to prepare for the hunger strike and is well over her training weight of 135.
Trimiar is the only holdout among three women boxers who started the hunger strike with demands including major network coverage of women boxers, economic parity for women on all professional boxing cards and promotion of boxing for girls and women as a means for self-esteem and self-defense.
The women picketed the Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler fight April 6 in Las Vegas, protesting promoter Robert Arum's refusal to work with female boxers.
Trimiar said she started serious training at 18, after graduating from Julia Richman High School in Manhattan. She said she has fought a total of 25 official fights, winning all but four with an 'off and on' career over the past 12 years.
'People traditionally have used boxing as a vehicle to get out of the ghetto,' Trimiar said.
In 1979, she won the women's lightweight championship from Sue 'K-O' Carlson in San Antonio, Texas, Trimiar said.
The Harlem native now lives in the Los Angeles area and would only say regarding her age that she is about 30 because she said she feared boxing promotors would discriminate against her on the basis of age as well as gender.
But the hunger strike has her mother worried, and Trimiar admitted her older brother died in 1983 while praying and fasting as a Pentacostal minister.
'I don't know how far I will go with this. I really don't know. I might just take it all the way,' she said.
'There are so many women with talent going to waste. They're naive the way I was, thinking something is going to happen. It's hard for me to say it's not going to.'