The first woman professional boxing judge in the world, Carol Polis's life is one of personal triumph against long odds. Having officiated 27 title fights plus two high-profile non-title heavyweight fights with Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes, Polis, a single parent and recent cancer survivor, has an amazing, historically significant story to tell. The 1970s were a time of great upheaval for women. There was Roe v. Wade and the Equal Rights Amendment. There were Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, Golda Meir, and Carol Polis. In 1971, Carol Polis married a part-time professional boxing referee. Within two years, she went from being a squeamish spectator to a professional boxing judge-the first woman ever to do so. As luck would have it, not only was this period the golden age of women's rights, it was also the golden age of boxing. Carol Polis had a ringside seat for all of it. Sometimes she was the main event. From cutting her teeth on three-round undercard fights at the gritty Blue Horizon in Philadelphia to finding herself at the center of a riot at Madison Square Garden; from being schooled in Joe Frazier's sweat drenched gym on North Broad Street to officiating in a Don King tournament and being investigated by the FBI; from following the careers of local fighters like Boogaloo Watts and Willie "the Worm" Monroe to becoming a personal guest of Muhammad Ali; from speaking at the nearby Rotary Club to appearing as a contestant on What's My Line and To Tell the Truth, five-foot-one, 115-pound Carol Polis, for better or for worse, was treated as an ambassador for all women, a novelty, and even a misfit. Polis was bound by none of these labels. First and foremost, Carol Polis was a mom. When her marriage breaks up in 1977, Polis's life becomes more a matter of survival than knockouts. It is while keeping a roof over her kids' heads and later raising her grandson that Polis earns her heavyweight belt.
Carol with professional American professional boxer and former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion, Floyd Patterson
Carol with five-time World Heavyweight Champion, Evander Holyfield