The Mexican golden girl of boxing

22/11/2019
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15:50
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The Mexican golden girl of boxing
Stephanie Martínez is 13 years old - Photo: Iván Campo

The Mexican golden girl of boxing

22/11/2019
15:50
Mexico City
Cinthia I. García
-A +A
Stephanie Martínez is an amateur Mexican boxer who has won eight championships, nearly 40 medals, and has a 95-6-0 record

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13-years-old Stephanie Martínez is an amateur boxer known as “the golden girl,” named like this by her father. She is a young woman that has shown discipline and dedication that can be seen in her achievements. She has won eight championships, approximately 40 medals; from 101 fights, she has won 95 and has lost only six; additionally, she has dabbled in acting and modeling.

Fanny, as they call her, entered the sports world when she was seven years old by influence of her grandfather, who was a boxer. She says that she has loved this sport since she was little and that she watched the matches every Saturday with her family.

“I admired Jackie Nava a lot because she was very strong. We saw her and I said I wanted to be like her, I wanted to be on the ring, with my braids and a short with lights; that’s why I feel I had it in my blood since I was small.”

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The beginning of her biggest dream started with a wish to the Three Wise Kings. Fanny asked them to go to a boxing gym to start her training. “We had a sack at home. When I was little, I always hit it. Then, there was a moment when I told my dad I wanted to go to a boxing gym, that I wanted to get on a ring and hit a sack. He told me he'd take me later, but I couldn't wait anymore. I wanted to go to a gym so bad that I asked the Three Wise Kings for it. I remember that date pretty well; it’s a date I will never forget.”

Like any other girl, Stephanie enjoyed playing with dolls, helping with chores, and spending time with her family, who have been her biggest supporters, for since when she started to train, her grandfather and her father have supported her by giving her advice and going with her to her training and fights, but most of all by teaching her discipline.

“My grandfather has always told me that if I like boxing, discipline is the most important, that I have to be disciplined in training even though they’re hard, for these sacrifices will give me great rewards. He has always told me this and I have realized it’s true.”

Through her sports training, Fanny has had only two coaches, both of them men. Fanny says that a woman has never trained her because she has never seen a woman coach; nevertheless, it is something she would like without doubt.

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Photo: Iván Campos/EL UNIVERSAL

The first person that guided her in his sport was Víctor Vaquero Díaz, in the Vaquero Díaz gym in Chimalhuacán, State of Mexico. Her second and current coach is Antonio Navarro with whom she trains at Club Condesa Box from two to two and a half hours every day.

She always has different routines. Some days she runs 10 km in 52 minutes; she does not have a special diet but she always tries to eat healthily. However, all this has not been easy for her, for there are days in which the fatigue almost defeats her for training is strenuous, but despite it, she keeps a positive attitude: “When you do something with your heart and because you love it, nothing is impossible.”

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For the Golden Girl, not everything is boxing. Her family has always pushed her to focus on her education. She is currently in the last year of junior high school in Telpuchcalli junior high in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, from where she is from.

Her grades are excellent and she says its thanks to her father’s endorsement; another one of her goals is to become a veterinarian.

“Something my father has always taught me is education because if I have an injury due to boxing and I cannot continue, I know I have a backup.”

During her sports career, Stephanies has been recognized by several media outlets, currently, she is endorsed by the Boxing World Council. This has given her the opportunity of dabbling in acting and modeling.

She says she is grateful and motivated by the great support she has received. Nevertheless, not everything has been good, there have also been negative opinions about the sport that has accompanied her during these years.

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Photo: Iván Campos/EL UNIVERSAL

“At school, they have told me I can be violent because I practice boxing, but I don’t think so; this sport doesn’t make you violent, on the contrary, I think that you are a weapon, you cannot hit them nor defend yourself. I think that it is best to tell teachers when something happens. Also, I have heard commentaries from people who tell me that I will never be a champion because I’m a woman, that a woman has to do things at home, but I always tell them that it is my dream, that despite the obstacles, I will always fight for this dream as well as of becoming a veterinarian.”

Fanny also believes that not paying attention to these critiques shows that as women “we can practice any sport, the only requirement is to focus on what you do,” in her case, her training and education.

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In the past, boxing was seen as a men-only sport and women who wanted to practice it were considered “tomboys.”

In the 1904 Olympic Games that took place in St. Louis, United States, freestyle wrestling and boxing were included as Olympic sports. That year, 651 athletes participated in the games (645 men and only 6 women) from 12 countries in 91 events of 16 Olympic sports.

But despite including boxing as an Olympic sport, it was until the 2012 London Olympic Games that women’s boxing was included for the first time, so in these games, women participated in all the Olympic sports in which a total of 10,568 athletes participated (5892 men and 4676 women) from 204 countries.

An example of the fight for equality in this sport is Laura Serrano, Mexican boxer, considered as the pioneer of women’s boxing, who fought the law and won when she got an amparo against a prohibition that, since 1947, prevented women from fighting in Mexico City. In its history, Mexico has had 249 professional female boxers.

The Golden Girl’s career is not limited to sports. The contacts she has made have opened many doors for her, inviting the young woman on some occasions to participate in advertising campaigns, acting in series, and modeling.

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Photo: Iván Campos/EL UNIVERSAL

“I participated in the series “El César,” it was a very cool experience that I hadn’t done before. After that project came the series “Diableros” which is another experience I loved and all this thanks to boxing. Acting and modeling is something I love, but not something I want to do for a living.”

Without a doubt, Stephanie Martínez shows that dreams can come true and although she still has a long way to go, the young woman is focused on her dreams.

One of her dreams is to represent Mexico in the Olympic Games, for she wants people and her family to be proud of her.

“All my achievements are due to the support of people, my father, and God. I’m grateful for boxing because I realize that all the effort and sacrifice day after day have given me many things, it has opened many doors for me. I feel proud of myself because of my work.”

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