Why Women Need to Make Boxing a Part of Their Story

Women’s boxing is trending up! It is an exciting time to be a female in the sport of boxing. The top women in boxing are authoring inspiring chapters in the stories of their lives.

Clarissa Shields achieved history making moments by boxing her way to a gold medal in 2012 when women were finally welcomed in the Olympic arena. She would return to the Olympics in 2016 and write a sequel to that chapter by winning gold again! She continue’s to write her story in the professional ring by adding passages detailing her victorious road to becoming a world champion!

Many of the other top women, including former Olympian;s like Marlen Esparza (a 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner) and 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer are continuing to add to their stories by stepping into the professional ring with televised bouts.

These inspiring and motivating women have many girls and women asking themselves if boxing could become chapters in their own stories. The answer is ABSOLUTELY!

Here is the short list of why women and boxing are a natural fit:

  • Why should the boys have all the fun? When you get right down to it…boxing is fun! You get to hit stuff, which relieves stress (therapy) and releases endorphins (happiness)!
  • There is not a better full body workout than boxing. It combines high intensity training with both aerobic and anaerobic activity. A typical session that lasts for about an hour has the potential to burn 730-1055 calories.
  • Boxing is designed for every body type. There is no typical “boxer body.” Weight classes for amateur female boxers span from 60-189+ lbs. There is literally a weight category for every body type. Talk about a judgement free zone!
  • Amateur female boxers can begin competing at the age of 8 years, and can continue to compete indefinitely. Women have competed into their 70’s and beyond. Age is just a number, not a definition!

These are all excellent incentives for girls and women to consider donning the gloves. But the richest rewards often reveal themselves after a female enters into training.

Every woman and girl has her own story to tell, and boxing contributes profound chapters to these stories. Some of these chapters reveal an innate strength to a girl that she may not have had the ability to recognize in herself. In the early stages of training, girls learn the basics of offense and defense. Often, this is the first time that a girl has ever thrown a punch.

There is pure strength in that act. Not the brute strength that most associate with throwing a punch. It is a quiet awakening. It is an inner empowerment. It allows a girl to stand toe to toe with her own insecurities and tear them down one punch at a time.

The nature of the sport enables girls and women to develop a pronounced independence. It provides them with the ability to rely on themselves in any situation, and the confidence to know that they can handle whatever is thrown at them; both in the ring and in life.

Other chapters that boxing contributes to a woman’s life might be titled:

  • “Knock Out Your Goals One Workout at a Time”
  • “Roll With the Punches; The Art of Resilience”
  • “Fight With All of Your Might; Standing Up for What You Believe”
  • “Slipping, Bobbing, and Weaving; Problem Solving Skills Learned in the Ring”
  • “Never Surrender if You Want to be a Contender; Never Give Up on Yourself”

These chapters contain boxing’s lessons on goal oriented achievement, the value of resilience, living life with purpose and principles, problem solving skills, and confidence, self-esteem, and value.

It is these doctrines that boxing provides that boxing provides, that have the power to change girls lives.

There is an excitement and anticipation surrounding women’s boxing. The major players in boxing are taking notice of the women as they embrace boxing as their own. Top promoters are including women amongst their prized fighters for the first time. Sports and entertainment networks are making commitments to televise more women’s bouts.

The most exciting advances are taking place at the grass-root level; amateur boxing. USA Boxing is committed to growing the sport of female boxing. Women and girls currently make up about 10% of USA Boxing’s membership. The organization is committed to growing this number to 25% in 2018.

The National Silver Gloves and the National Golden Gloves will include girls and women in their tournaments in 2018 for the first time.

These organizations recognize the value that boxing can bring to a female’s life. They are passionate in their commitments to offer opportunities for females. Their support will help females to develop competitively in unprecedented numbers.

The top women in boxing are also committed to offering support and mentorship to the young women who are beginning their own chapters in boxing . Mikaela Mayer often reaches out to the new crop of girls and women in boxing via her social media accounts with words of wisdom and support. The competition between women in boxing is healthy, and at the same time welcoming and supportive.

The time for women’s boxing is now! It is an exciting time for girls and women to take advantage of all that boxing has to offer and become the authors of their own stories!

Nico Hernandez

They say that “you can never go home.” Nico Hernandez knows that this is not true. He has found his way back home on numerous occasions. He has boxed in competitions across the nation, collecting an impressive array of hardware, including: a National Golden Gloves championship ring, eight Ringside World Championship belts, two Jr. Olympic Gold medals, a USA Boxing National Championship belt, a Continental Championship bronze medal, an Olympic Qualifier Silver Medal, and an Olympic Trial Championship.

Hernandez has also competed internationally, most notably; he earned a Bronze Medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at an amateur athlete’s most coveted competition, the Olympics. After each of these contests, he always returned home to Wichita, Ks.

Recently, Hernandez took another journey back “home” to the 2017 National Silver Gloves Championships held in Independence, Mo. Hernandez, an eight time Silver Gloves  champion himself, was drawn back to this tournament because it was the point of departure of his boxing journey. “This tournament is where it all began for me; this is where my Olympic dreams started. “Hernandez stated.

As Hernandez wandered through the venue, he was surrounded by excited young boxers who had found an idol in their midst. He graciously posed for every photo that was requested, and took a moment to speak with everyone who approached him.  Hernandez takes his status as a role model very seriously and tries to impart his beliefs that if you believe in yourself, anything can happen.  He wants young boxers to recognize their own worth and settle for nothing less.

What these fans may not have noticed was that  Hernandez was an ardent fan of all the young boxers he encountered.  He was flooded with memories as he stopped to watch a boxer getting his hands wrapped. He noted the calm focused moment.  Later, he witnessed another boxer gloving up, and he couldn’t help but notice the slight shaking of his hands as the anticipation and adrenaline surged through this boxer.

During a break from the tournament, Hernandez visited two local gyms, where he sparred with some of the fortunate boxers who attend these gyms. This is another way that Hernandez chooses to mentor up-and-coming boxers. At Turner Boxing Academy, Hernandez sparred with sixteen year old, Jorge Carlos. Carlos is the 2016 Jr. Olympic gold medalist who has just begun his promising journey to becoming an Olympian. When asked what working with Hernandez meant to him, he stated “Sparring with Nico was a great experience! It make me feel like maybe it’s possible to be the next Olympian.”

Hernandez returned to the Silver Gloves Tournament, watching numerous bouts, and witnessing the emergence of champions.  He was reminded of all of the work and perseverance that he endured at this stage of his boxing journey.  At the end of the tournament, when asked what impression the Silver Gloves and working with the kids at the local gyms left him with, he stated, “I am impressed with all of these kids. They have inspired me, motivated me to get back in the ring,”

And so, after this recent journey “home,” Nico Hernandez will return to Wichita, Ks. filled with inspiration from the next generation of Olympian’s, to continue his boxing journey with a pro debut in his hometown.

Who says “you can’t go home!”


Originally published by http://www.stingsports.com


Olympians…Superhumans or Just Super-Humans?

IMG_1372                                        There are certain events in everyone’s lifetime that always elicit a visceral response.  One of these, for me, has always been the Olympics.  As a little girl, I remember the excitement and anticipation I felt in an Olympic year; from the journey of the torch traveling great distances to reach its final destination in the host city, to the dazzling pageantry of the opening ceremony.  But the most captivating portion has always been the parade of athletes, filing into the arena behind their respective country’s flag.  This is the moment when a lump forms in my throat and chill bumps erupt across my skin. Watching these seemingly immortal beings, the gods and goddesses of their sports, enter into the most elite competition of their lives, well… it is simply spellbinding.  Having never been an athlete of any sort, I never understood why this affected me on a cellular level, but I was completely enraptured by these moments.  I had always felt that these athletes had been bestowed with rarified traits that made them extraordinary.  It, in my mind, made their talents unattainable to mere mortal athletes

It wouldn’t be until years later when I discovered boxing, would I begin to realize why the athletes had such a profound effect one me.  At the inception of my training, a very wise coach told me that I did not have natural athletic ability.  At first blush I though, well, that’s it then…this new passion of mine will likely be just for fun, and fleeting.

He seemingly confirmed to me what I thought I already knew.  I was most definitely not one of the chosen few.  But I continued to go to the gym and train every day.  I began to take notice of who in the gym seemed to be especially talented.  I assumed that they, most assuredly, were the athletes with “natural ability.” I scrutinized these boxers to see if any of them had been blessed with the super powers that would make them Olympic material. But what I noted, was that these kids worked hard and pushed themselves to new limits every day.  In my mind, they grinded far too hard to be a part of the elite few.

Then, one day, there was someone different int he gym.  Someone I recognized;  the captain of the USA Team, Cam F. Awesome.  Although I was completely unaware at the time, I had found my way to a gym and coach who were well-versed in the development of superior athletes.  This was Cam’s gym.  Cam is one of those athletes that I knew had been bestowed with the traits of a “super hero.” I was elated to have the opportunity to observe these talents first hand.

I watched, like a quiet, little mouse in the corner, waiting for a display of amazing feats.  But what I witnessed was unexpected.  Cam went through the same routines in the gym that we all did. He hammered away at the bags relentlessly, his chest heaving, and sweat pouring from him. He then moved on to mitt work.  He continued this for a while, at times frustrated as he tweaked his technique until he was satisfied with it.  I was taken aback by his frustration.  How could he be frustrated? Where were these ethereal gifts?  Over the next few weeks, whenever Cam was in the gym, I continued to observe and absorb all that I could from him.  I learned a little bit about his personal journey towards the Olympic’s. That’s when a new ideal of the Olympic athlete began to emerge for me.

The dawning realization was, that these athletes, like Cam Awesome, are indeed special, but not because they are blessed with supernatural abilities.  Rather, these athletes possess a deep seeded desire to be extraordinary at all costs.  They are ferociously devoted to it.  And, indeed, there are high prices to pay for the visions they have for themselves.  There are struggles and stumbles to overcome. There are the dogged daily grinds that must be completed without exception.  The attention to diet and health that can leave them feeling deprived. In short they “live” their sport.

I now fully understand what that wise coach meant when he said that I did not have natural athletic ability.  I thought that he meant my abilities were limited, and therefore my successes would also be limited.  Now I realize he was giving me a precious gift.  He was letting me know that if this was the life I wanted, I could have it. It wouldn’t come easily, bit it was there for the taking if I was willing to sacrifice, persevere, and succumb to the daily grind of pushing myself to new limits every day.

These things I can relate to. These things give me hope. These things give me purpose.  Although the Olympics may never be a part of my personal journey, I have to belive that they could be if I choose to “live” my sport.


Originally published by www.stingsports.com