UCLA Boxing champion discusses preparation and victory
I like to say the first fight is a brawl, and the rest, you box. ♪♪ Music Playing ♪♪ I started boxing when I got here my freshmen year. I sought out the club at the Enormous Activities Fair, and then I went to the first practice. So I had no previous boxing experience. Three weeks before I came to UCLA, a trainer came to the gym. He said that he was an amateur boxer, and he would train me. I probably did like four or five sessions of very basic mitt work with him just like learning the ropes, and then I liked it enough I think to seek out the club when I got to UCLA. ♪♪ Music Playing ♪♪ I met coach Tony, and he told me from the start like “you have potential, and when I think you’re ready and you think your ready, I’ll admit you to the gym.” So my first fight was in November of this year, and I was so nervous simply because my first fight was going to be at this giant arena. I got in there, and the first round, those two minutes, that was the most out of breath I have ever been in my life. The hardest thing I had ever done. Once I got that out of my system, then all my fights going forward were much more strategic. I was doing a lot of footwork; my defense got a lot better; there was a lot more strategy, but every single one of my fights has looked different. ♪♪ Music Playing ♪♪ So boxing is not an NCAA sport. I fight under NCBA, which is the National Collegiate Boxing Association. We hosted regionals at UCLA, which was incredible, and I won, and then we went to nationals, but the semifinal was really tough. It was my first fight that I won on a split decision and I knew for the national final like, it was a mental game. I had been training for thirteen weeks. My body can only do what my body can do, but, mentally, I was going to have to be mentally tough and will myself to go in there and give my all and not let, you know, all the external factors, all the things that I couldn’t control affect me. I have to do this for me. I have to do this for my coach and for my team and for my school. I want to become a two-time or three-time national champion, obviously. I have two years left. I’m gonna be back at it. I am gonna train this summer and then I’m going abroad in the Fall, but I’ll be training in London and then I’ll be back for winter quarter next year, and I’m gonna just get after it again.