Photo courtesy of Vogue
Marlen Esparza is one of the most accomplished amateurs in the history of boxing. According to Biography.com, she started fighting as a teenager and became the youngest female fighter to win the National Championship at the age of 16.
In 2012, Esparza earned the distinction of being the first American woman to ever qualify for women’s boxing in the Olympics, an achievement she called “a big step, not really just for boxing, but for women in general.”
During the London Summer Olympics in 2012, Esparza fought hard and took home the bronze medal. While this was an impressive accomplishment, it left an unquenched thirst for gold inside of the competitive fighter.
Round By Round Boxing caught up with Esparza who discussed being “labeled” a role model, her favorite male boxers and the desire to fight on.
According to your pre-Olympic feature in Vogue, you were set to quit boxing after the 2012 games. What–if anything–has changed?
My plan was to stop boxing. After I did not get a gold medal, I found out that I could no longer decide to stop boxing. I was so close and I’m doing very well in my life where there’s nothing stopping me, so I decided to give it another try.
Do you feel like a role model or inspiration for others? Do you want to be labeled that way?
I do not believe in labels. I am who I am and I’m just trying to accomplish my life goals. If people see me as a role model or an inspiration then that’s how they choose to see me.
I don’t mind it if I can give somebody some sort of help in any way, shape or form. I feel that I’m doing good as a person and helping others see their potential. That is a great feeling of joy I never expected to experience.
Who is your favorite male boxer(s)?
Salvador Sanchez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Aaron Pryor, Andre Ward, Sergio Martinez, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Nonito Donaire.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. The ability to stop time or to be invisible.
Music is so hard for me to narrow down as far as favorite song or musician it all depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I listen to all sorts of music because in my life I have to use music to get my mind correct before I fight.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given or you can give someone else?
“If your mind can dream it and your heart can believe it, you can do it.”
“Thoughts become things.”
Where do you see yourself in five years personally and professionally?
I see myself with a gold medal, enrolled in school and helping other people do the best they can do in life and in the sport that I love most.
Where can people check you out?
Courtesy of Instagram
Marlen’s website under construction
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