Your story is particularly inspirational in terms of what you’ve overcome in your life both physically and mentally. Given where you are now as a professional, how does having overcome such odds affect you now?
Overcoming the odds is something that has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I always knew that I had something very different and special inside me. I had this hunger and drive that was burning inside, along with a knowledge, not just a feeling, that I was meant for something more in this life.
I always wanted to be a professional athlete because I thought it meant I would make enough at what I love to take care of my mother and brother (lol…definitely not the case), but I also had a very strong urge to make it as a professional athlete because I wanted to use it as a way to pass along what was inside of me to others, to be able to be an inspiration to other kids or anyone else going through struggles. And, now I am doing that through motivational speaking, and through my job as a performance coach/trainer at the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida.
Overcoming odds in and out of the ring has made me soo much stronger not only on the outside, but more so, and more importantly within myself. It has caused me to look at things, choices, obstacles and life in general in a whole other perspective. And by following what I feel within, and by staying positive, focused, determined, and continuously believing in my dreams I have slowly brought them all into my life. It’s an incredible feeling of fulfillment and blessings that I want to pass on to others and help them to achieve. And the best part is, my journey in and out of the ring is still far from over, and in many ways I’m just starting…just like a Phoenix I’m continuously reborn growing stronger every time with every step.
How has boxing helped you? What is it about boxing you feel can help other women overcome their problems and challenges?
Boxing has helped me to really look within myself. Stepping into that ring causes you to really face yourself, it’s your truth, and will give you all the answers to what you really have inside. The training takes you on the journey of how far you are willing to push yourself and what you are truly capable of. How far beyond your limits can you push yourself. You realize if you are just a “boxer” or truly a warrior, a fighter.
Boxing gives women a chance to really grow stronger within, not just on a physical level, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. It gives them a sense of empowerment, inner strength, self confidence, and self esteem that they may have never had. And from that they will grow and transform in not only their personal but professional lives as well.
What are you feelings about the sport of women’s boxing now? Have you seen it change in the 12 years since you first donned gloves as an amateur? Do you feel that the the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics will have a positive effect?
Women’s boxing has definitely grown in the depth of it’s athletes and their level of skill, and the popularity of the sport, but it still has a way to go. The amount of support and the exposure of the sport and the boxers in it is far from where it should, and deserves to be. There are more coaches in the sport giving female boxers the time, coaching, and respect they deserve as boxers, not as women. However, promoters across the board are still not allowing females the spotlight to shine, although it has gotten better. Yet it still seems that main stream television is continuing to shut out women’s boxing, even though they’ve started televising women’s MMA.
We need television behind to add more exposure to the sport and the quality fighters in it. The problem is that way too many times female fighters are so mismatched on televised fights it has not shown the quality of where the bar has been raised in the sport. I’m hopeful that the inclusion of the sport in the Olympics will elevate the exposure and support, as well as the popularity of the sport. The inclusion is long overdue, but at the same time the sport really needs the promoters and television stations to get behind it, and for their to better match ups on major fight undercards.
You’ve been such a stalwart of the New York women’s boxing scene, what is prompting your move to West Palm Beach, Florida? Will you continue your work as a personal trainer and giving motivational talks in addition to professional boxing? (And will you visit us from time to time! BTW, I love seeing your championship banner hanging @ Gleason’s Gym!)
I am and forever will be not only a New Yorker, but a New York fighter inside. And, I am so incredibly proud to have a World Champion banner bearing my name at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. That is something that is soo heartfelt and special to me, especially coming from the life and struggles I’ve been through, but I guess at the same time that is exactly what makes not just boxers, but fighters, and champions. Because, it is not what we go through or have gone through, but what we do to overcome and where we take ourselves, in and out of the ring. So, that banner is not only an honor but also extremely symbolic.
And, yes I have just moved to West Palm Beach, Florida because of another dream coming true in my life. I have been given the opportunity to work for world-renowned performance coach, my own performance coach, and the man whose school of thought and teachings I’ve studied under as a performance coach, Juan Carlos Santana, at the Institute of Human Performance (IHP), in Boca Raton, Florida. I am a performance coach there now, which is something I have dreamt of doing for years. It is an incredible opportunity for growth as a trainer, and gives me the opportunity to train not only elite athletes, but also to train elite fighters, including many American Top Team fighters. And to work under, and alongside JC is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am so blessed to have. I also will continue to do motivational speaking on my own, as well as with IHP. And, yes I will miss Gleason’s and it will always have a special place in my heart, and I will be sure to visit on my tips back home.
What are your longer term goals in the sport and for yourself as a role model in the sport?
As for my goals in the sport, I just want to keep seeing how far I can take myself, and hope to continue to be a positive force and an inspiration through my career and my journey in and out of the ring. Boxing may not give you all the money in the world, but what it has given me inside, the journey it has taken me on, challenges it has strengthened me through, lessons it has taught me, and the lives it has allowed me to touch is something money could never buy, and what I am so grateful to have as part of my personal journey and hopefully part of the legacy I hope to leave behind. What the future holds I do not know, but I do know that I am going after it full speed, back on the climb to the top, embracing each moment and each challenge with open arms, grateful for the life I have, blessed for the lives I touch, and hungry for what lies ahead.
This life is a gift, it’s yours to do and go after what you want, so LIVE IT! Believe in those dreams, stay true to them, and follow what is in your heart, listen to what your soul yearns for, because you can have it ALL. Welcome all haters and obstacles because they are there for you to overcome and grow stronger from, so welcome the challenges to see what you are capable of within. We may not all be boxers, but we all have the opportunity to be a fighter, so look within yourself, dig down deep, face your fears and truths, and make your dreams reality.
LIVE, LOVE, LEARN, LEAVE A LEGACY, STAY STRONG, AND ALWAYS BELIEVE!!!