Originally from England, Buttrick is considered a pioneer of women's professional boxing.
Buttrick was born in Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1930.
Known as "The Mighty Atom of the Ring", Buttrick, at 4′ 11″, fought from 98 lbs. to being the World’s unbeaten flyweight (112) and bantamweight (118) champion from 1950 to 1960.
Buttrick started her boxing career in 1948, touring Europe with carnivals as a bantamweight in the boxing booth. She went to the United States in the mid-1950s, joined the carnival circuit, but left because the American carnivals were rougher than the European ones. She then fought professionally in Canada, Chicago, and southern Florida. One of the Canadian matches became the first women's bout to be broadcast on radio.
Buttrick allegedly fought many exhibition bouts against male opposition.
Buttrick reportedly had one career loss, to Joann Hagen, in 31 pro bouts before retiring. After an absence of 15 years, she briefly returned to the ring in 1977.
She retired in 1960 at 30–1–1.
In the mid-1990s, she founded and became the president of the Women's International Boxing Federation (WIBF) which is a major sanctioning body of women's boxing.
Buttrick's last known residence was Miami Beach, Florida, United States. In 2014, she inaugurated the Women's International Boxing Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after it being proposed during 2013 by her and by Sue Fox.
In 2016, it was announced that a stage play based on Buttrick's life, Mighty Atoms by Amanda Whittington, would be premiered in Hull as part of the city's UK City of Culture celebrations in 2017.