DARIA LE' SHON HILL is another in the long tradition of fine boxers to come out of Camden. Known in the ring as D' Hit Woman, she was born January 6, 1979. She is a third generation boxer, her father, Darrah Porter and her grandfather, William James Porter, having preceded her in the ring.
As of March 9, 2005 she is ranked in the top 10 as a welterweight and as a junior middleweight by two separate sanctioning organizations.
Record as of May 7, 2007
Camden Courier-Post - March 5, 2005
>A Fighting Chance
By CELESTE E. WHITTAKER
Daria Hill says boxing was her calling.
To be more exact, she says perhaps it was her silent calling.
It was in her all the while, but it was only five years ago that boxing became Hill's profession.
Before that, most of her best work was done on the streets of Camden, where she says people would often take bets on her fights.
"I'm an athlete overall, and growing up in the streets of Camden, it was rough," said Hill, who began boxing in 2000 and turned pro in 2002. "I've always been a fighter, so if I'm going to fight, why not make some money out of it?"
Plus, it was in her blood.
"My dad, Darrah Porter, was a boxer and my grandfather, William James Porter, was a boxer too," said Daria Hill, who goes by the nickname, D' Hit Woman.
Hill remembers a friend, King Bey, an ex-boxer from Camden, approached her one day with the idea.
"He said, `You still fighting, girl?' " Hill, 26, remembers. "He said women's boxing was up and coming. I met somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody and they hooked me up with my trainers."
There was a time when those who know her well weren't so sure she would be able to turn things around in her life. Her older brother James Hill was one of them. He says Daria, who attended Camden High, was "horrible" in her teenage years.
"I'm extremely proud of her," said James, who runs his own carpet business where Daria works occasionally. "Very rarely does a young black female with discipline problems as a teenager wind up turning that into something good as far as I've seen growing up in the city of Camden. Usually if a female or male has a troubled past, that troubled past leads to a troubled future. She was able to go against the tide and make the city proud." A growing sport
According to the Frank Globuschultz, president and CEO of the International Women's Boxing Federation (IWBF) in New York, the participation numbers in women's pro boxing has doubled from about 2,500 worldwide in 1998 to about 5,000 today, but the purses have decreased.
"The pro sport, as a whole, the numbers have risen in terms of participants," said Globuschultz, who predicts women's boxing may be an Olympic sport by 2012, which would give the sport a big boost. "But the purses for the women have decreased. It's no more a novelty. . . . The popularity, with the purses, probably hit a peak from 1998 to 2001. It culminated with Kathy Collins and Christy Martin, they got the largest purse in history. It was over $500,000."
The Oscar-award winning movie Million Dollar Baby put the spotlight on women's boxing recently. The film's star is a female boxer played by actress Hilary Swank, who took home the Oscar for best actress. The film also received best picture, best supporting actor (Morgan Freeman) and best director (Clint Eastwood).
Names such as Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, whose famous fathers, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, are boxing legends, have helped draw more attention to the sport as well, but there needs to be more star power and more depth.
Joe Santoliquito, who compiles women's rankings for The Ring magazine, told USA Today, "The depth is horrible. It's really not hard to do the rankings. It's a very shallow pool, about 2 feet deep." Determination
Depth or no depth, Hill was on board with boxing long before any recent attention the sport has received.
She gives a lot of credit to her trainers, brothers Randy and Wade Hinnant. The pair, who were raised in Philadelphia, are former boxers. Wade had 16 pro fights.
"There've been a few females that were here, but they never seem to stick," Wade said. "They start out, come in to lose some weight, but they find out how difficult this is and then they've got to find something else to do.
"Daria is a determined young lady. She likes the physical aspect of boxing. I think she understands that business is pretty rough, but the rewards are great as well. She's an entertainer. She doesn't care how she entertains. She wants to entertain."
That she does. Hill is also a rapper who hopes to have her record out by this summer.
"I'm working on it," said Hill, who initially focused on her music after high school. ". . . In Camden, I'm pretty well known for my music and boxing. I promote myself. Even if I don't get in the door as far as rapping, I can still engineer and produce, too."
On a recent evening at Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia, Hill trained vigorously. She says she's there five days a week for two hours per day. The 6-foot-1, 147-pound Hill walked in and greeted visitors with a hearty handshake and a wide grin.
She quickly went into the dressing room, where the sign read "Ladies Only," to change, then bounded out a few minutes later. She began to stretch, then jump rope and shadow box.
From there, she went downstairs, where she battered the heavy bag, seemingly with ease, then went for a round with the speedbag and didn't miss a beat. The training
If she has a fight upcoming, she trains six days per week. She'll run about three or four miles in the morning, then go to the gym and work on the treadmill, doing more cardiovascular work. She hits the boxing gym in the evenings.
"She can get with some of the guys in here," said Paul Caputi, a middleweight from Pennsauken, who also trains at the same gym. "That's one of the best females I've ever seen in here. She's got more skills than I've got."
"I've been doing my thing," said Hill, who ran track at Camden High and also has played basketball. ". . . When I was amateur, it was hard for me to get amateur fights. They would come to the fights and once they'd see me, because of my height, they'd say, `I'm not getting in the ring with her.' "
Hill is 3-1 as a professional and had a match in Las Vegas in Jan. 29, where she won by technical knockout over Angie Poe in the fifth round on an all-female card.
Hill is rated No. 6 in the junior middleweight division (154 pounds) by the IWBF and No. 9 in the welterweight division (up to 147 pounds) by the Women's International Boxing Association (WIBA).
Although she's a welterweight, Hill sometimes goes up and down in weight class when necessary, to get a fight.
"They're trying to duck me, but I'm there," she said. The family
Her family, which includes 5-year-old son Caliph Perry, couldn't be happier for her.
"Of course I have fears. She's a girl. You don't want her face all messed up for one thing," said Peggy Hill Porter about her daughter. "I've known things to happen to male boxers. Her grandfather was a professional boxer.
"I'm happy for her. It's her love. Like I tell all my children, `Whatever you want to do, do your best. If you don't do your best, no need in doing it at all.' It may not be my choice, but they have to live it. Make a choice you can live with."
Hill's father died in 2001, but she says her mother sticks behind her in anything she does.
"She supports me," said Hill, who has five siblings. "She's confident in the sport. She knows I can handle myself, especially after growing up in the city."
"She came a long way," said Randy Hinnant. "She's doing very well. She's a top-notched fighter now. A female's a little harder to train than a male, and she caught on." The next step
Wade Hinnant, who believes Hill has tremendous potential and a lot of natural ability, says the main reason there's such a difference in training females is that they usually don't get the opportunity to fine-tune their skills by sparring against other females.
Hill said she sparred with Frazier-Lyde prior to the Ali fight in 2001, and before another fight as well, and was well compensated for it, but generally she has to spar with men.
"(Sparring with men) is cool," Hill said. "I don't let them knock me out. . . .A lot of females don't have the skills that guys have."
"I'm trying to be the world champ," Hill said. "I have the right people on my squad. They're my cornerstones, they guide me in the right direction. Hopefully, I'll make it. God willing."
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