CLEVELAND -- In a tuxedo accented with a blood-red bow tie and matching gloves, Wilma Smith welcomed the world to Cleveland, Ohio during an internationally televised boxing match.
“I’m sure people were saying, ‘What is that? Is that a woman in there? You don’t have a woman in a boxing ring!’ But there I was,” she said as she reflected on the experience.
It was 1992 when the opportunity presented itself.
“Don King was the guest that day, and I was interviewing him,” Wilma explained. “He said, ‘Would you be a ring announcer?’”
After confirming her role was not “walking around with the poster up,” Wilma agreed, under one condition.
“Don, if I’m going to go in the ring with you, then you’re going to have to comb your hair,” she said, and then decided to comb it herself.
“I pulled a comb out and I said, ‘You’re going to have to comb your hair down, I want a Princeton on you.’ I don’t know whatever happened to that video but I had his hair combed down instead of up in the air. It was combed down, like parted and combed down. He was a good sport to do that,” Wilma recalled.
She then started to work on her delivery.
“I practiced. I’m sure Tom, my husband, was thinking, 'There she goes again, practicing,' because you heard me, I projected,” Wilma explained.
Needless to say, the practice paid off on the big night. Watch the video above to see Wilma in action.