When Sharon 'Wild Thing' Anyos stepped into the ring on Friday September 22, she was fighting for more than a win against her Dutch opponent.
WBC featherweight champion Sharon, was not only defending her world title. She was fighting to create a new career beyond boxing.
As the first and only women's WBC champion she finds it almost impossible to find opponents in Australia. Prejudice against her sport, legal hurdles and extremely low financial rewards have pushed Sharon and her partner Steve Boyce into promoting her own event at the Gold Coast.
Growing up in a family of martial artists, where even her mother is a black belt in karate, Sharon found that the sport that brought her closer to her trainer-father was also something she did extremely well. She got to the top in karate, kick-boxing and muay thai, then moved into traditional boxing. Her chance came when family friend and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Bugner agreed to put Sharon on an under-card fight when he fought in his 1998 comeback fight.
In a scene that could have come from the film Million Dollar Baby, Sharon sought help from legendary fighter and trainer Jeff Fenech. Fenech, a staunch opponent of women's boxing, agreed to help her after she insisted on training in his Sydney gym and impressed him.
Her career hit its peak last year when she won the coveted WBC title, joining the likes of Muhammad Ali, Kostya Tszyu and Fenech himself.
But success has come only through stubborn refusal to accept the limits of this male dominated sport. Against the advice of everyone, including Joe Bugner, Sharon and Steve, with the promise of support from family and friends, will take a huge financial risk with the ultimate challenge.
Australian Story followed Sharon and Steve as she prepared for her make or break mission. Along with the exhilaration and determination there were tears and hurts as they found out who their friends were and how much pressure they could take.