Grandmother Terri Moss will knock you out
How this diminutive GRAND became an International Boxing Hall of Famer
BY JONATHAN MICOCCI
Muhammad Ali died in early June. Ali was a big man; a force of nature with a voice that had to be heard. He made boxing interesting to a whole generation. Boxing was the medium and Ali was the message.
Terri Moss is a 21st Century boxing messenger. Her mantra is a call to personal liberation, regardless of your age or your circumstance: “You can achieve what you want; just decide you’re going to do it!”
Terri Moss stands 5 feet 1 inch and weighs in at 104-pounds. She’s a vivacious fifty-year-old who is proud to be “Granny” to her five- and seven-year-old grandkids. She’s also the granny you would want by your side when walking along a tough street on a dark night. You see Terri Moss can literally knock you out.
With a life filled with the sort of contrast and contradiction that befits a 21st Century heroine, the diminutive blond is a boxing champion and, at age fifty, is currently trainer, coach, and mentor to bigger, tougher boxers than we’d ever want to take on, including a 300-pounder called “Tank.” How Terri became a boxing legend is a story all the more powerful for being so unlikely.
Terri discovered boxing at age thirty-four while working in law enforcement in Athens, Georgia. First, she just wanted to look like the fabulously fit boxers she met, but it wasn’t long before she wanted to be a fighter. But thirty-four was retirement age at the time. Worse yet, unless she could somehow eliminate the virus from her body, a chronic hepatitis infection would disqualify her from ever stepping into the ring. She ultimately did just that, and the cure became an improbable journey of discovery
’If it comes in a box, bag, or can, don’t eat it’ became her motto.”
First, she had to knock out hepatitis
Terri opted to treat the virus with powerful, toxic drugs, while also dedicating herself to a focused regime of eating only raw, whole foods and limited lean meat. “If it comes in a box, bag, or can, don’t eat it” became her motto. She credited her newfound nutritional habits, advanced for the time, as (and still) critical to her overall health and athletic performance.Then, she had to get in the ring.
Two years later, Terri was hepatitis-free and allowed in the ring, where she promptly lost her first three professional fights. Instead of deciding that boxing was not for her, the determined athlete concluded she needed a new trainer. Not long after she began training with Xavier Biggs, Terri won her first fight, against a #1 ranked boxer. From there, she fought her way into the record books, and, in 2015, the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame inducted her into its ranks.
“Instead of deciding that boxing was not for her, the determined athlete concluded she needed a new trainer.”
Now the champ has a new mission
These days, Terri is even more excited by what boxing can do for everyone—especially young people. She has an obvious empathy for kids who feel like misfits, for victims of bullying, shy kids, and those who don’t feel they belong. Her chosen method is to offer leadership by example.
Retired from competition since 2008, Terri now shares her knowledge and leverages her success story to help students overcome their fears, to understand nutrition, to get incredibly fit, and to believe in themselves. Once they’ve been trained in self-defense by the feisty grandmother, who would dare bully Terri’s kids?
Terri fulfills her chosen mission to help kids, promote boxing, and support charities via her gym, The Buckhead Fight Club, located near Atlanta. It advertises a “non-intimidating friendly environment” and the five-star reviews on Google reaffirm that claim. Programs range from gymnastics and non-contact workouts to military-style self-defense and professional fight training. The gym also sponsors a fundraiser, Corporate Fight Night, which Terri bills as “a Black Tie, Black Eye Affair.
A boxing firebrand, Terri is quick to point out that boxing is misunderstood, declaring it safer than football and other popular contact sports. According to her, learning to box demands a higher level of fitness than all other sports and teaches lasting, practical, self-defense skills. And, she notes, the sense of self-confidence and belonging young people find transcends socioeconomic structures.
With two careers behind her, a mantel full of trophies and two loving grandchildren, all by age fifty, Terri Moss is an inspiration to the young, and to the not so young.
And for some of us, she’s made boxing interesting again.
Terri’s Boxing Stats
- Terri Moss is the owner of Buckhead Fight Club, near Atlanta, where she trains the advanced boxing class and offers private training and nutritional counseling. She serves as a coordinator for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) and as chairman of women’s boxing with the Champions of Dignity Association (CODA).
- Terri competed for five world titles, capturing the WIBF Strawweight World Title and the WIBA Intercontinental Mini Flyweight Title, setting a Guinness World Record in the process. Terri was inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015
- After retiring as Champion in 2008, Terri founded Atlanta’s first-ever, white-collar, charity boxing series deemed “Corporate Fight Night,” which has raised over $75,000 in funds and sponsorships for local and national charities, including such organizations as Wounded Warrior Project and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
About the Author
Jonathan Micocci is president of GRAND Media and occasional contributor to GRAND Magazine.