“As a woman, they say, you have to go the extra mile. As a woman in a male-dominant sport, you have to go the extra 10 miles,” said Tiara Brown, 28, after breezing through six miles on the treadmill at the HeadBangers Boxing Gym. Dreads pushed back under her purple cap, headphones tucked in, Tiara quietly works through her daily routine among the group of men and young boys who make up the HeadBangers team.
Tiara “The Dark Menace” Brown began her journey in the ring at age 13 in her home town of Fort Myers, Fla. In 2012 she became the third U.S. boxer, male or female, to win a world title at the International Boxing Association World Championships, a status she maintained until 2014 when she came home with a bronze medal. Leaving her family behind, Tiara made the move to Southeast Washington to train with the HeadBangers, an all-male boxing team known for dedicated father-figure coaches who train elite amateur and pro fighters (Tiara no longer trains with the HeadBangers; she now trains at another gym and works with a new promoter, Preeminent PR). Holding an intact 4-0 record since her pro debut in 2016, all of Tiara’s opponents have backed down before their fights, nervous of her left hook to the body and her two-KO record.
For other natives of Southeast D.C., she is simply known as Officer Brown, a friendly beat police officer who patrols the Sixth District. In a neighborhood better known for street violence and armed assault, she has built friendly relationships with residents who regularly approach her for a quick chat during the day. Tiara’s choice to join the police force came after the murder of her brother Jermaine Thomas amid confusing circumstances in the streets of Fort Myers. “Crime is everywhere; the world is so tainted for the youth. I want to make a difference and clean the streets up,” she said, vowing to serve and protect the youth of her community.
Tiara trains daily often after 10-hour bike patrol shifts. It is not uncommon to find her training in the empty gym on Friday nights, or after attending Sunday service at the Suitland Road Church of Christ in Maryland. Tiara signs her text messages with “They shall walk and not faint,” a phrase from Isaiah 40:31. “It’s about patience. Giving yourself to God knowing that with faith, he will carry you only if you believe in yourself,” she said. Carrying others is Tiara’s most valued goal, serving as inspiration for youths and future boxing generations.
Tiara, left, and Tammy Franks pose during their weigh-in at a Downtown Locker Room shop in Northeast D.C. (Toya Sarno Jordan)
Franchon Crews adjusts the outfit she made for Tiara before her fight against Tammy Franks at the Howard Theatre. Franchon has made all the outfits for Tiara’s pro fights. (Toya Sarno Jordan)
Tiara fights against Tammy Franks, winning by knockout in the second round at the Howard Theatre. (Toya Sarno Jordan)
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