I think for the past few weeks I have just been completely enjoying life. The experience of fighting at the Barclay’s Center was beyond amazing, and it is a bitter sweet feeling now that it is over… there was sooo much preparing for this fight for so many months and it came and went in a blink! Fun, Excitement, Joy…. it was a THRILLING day. I would do it over again in a heart beat.
The day went like this:
Weigh-ins were from 10am-12pm the morning of the fight - Friday, April 18th, 2013 - at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Now, this is one of the newest arenas recently built in the country and it is the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
I had never been there before and walking in that morning…well…this photo says it all:
A vast arena…although, I knew it wouldn’t be full — it all started to sink in…the whole thing — What a big deal the whole tournament was. That I had signed up to fight in this tournament for two years in a row and could never participate because of work. This year all my stars aligned — I was able to register and train properly….and I made it to the finals. I was actually there. And going down in history for being the first fight to qualify to compete at the new location of the Barclay’s Center. It was all so surreal.
The weigh-in and physical with the doctor went by quickly. Everything checked out OK and I weighed in at 146 pounds (I was competing in the 152lb weigh class) — I felt pretty light, but strong. Previously that week I caught a nasty stomach bug and was finding it difficult to keep food down. I was just grateful to be eating solid food for two days at that point. I was ready to throw down! Now or never.
I took the rest of the day…after weigh-ins, to relax at home: watch a little TV and take a nap. Mike, Kimberly and I were do back at 5pm to pick up my uniform and gloves and settle in in the locker rooms before showtime. I was unusually calm. I think I knew exactly what to expect..I had a few fights under my belt and the whole process was becoming more natural to me—with the weigh-ins, physical, getting my hands wrapped..and the whole anticipation of it all. I felt prepared and knew I would be going up against a really great and strong fighter. I was there to fight my best and giver my opponent a tough fight…and above all - give the crowd a good fight!! I already knew that I had a whole slew of friends in the stands there to support me: win or loose. They, and myself, were pumped to see me drink after the fight and celebrate my hard work in general.
I met Mike at the WAT before heading to the Barclays to get my traditional hair-do. Susan always ties my hair back and gives me my last words of encouragement before we ship out. She is one of those positive and upbeat people - who knows exactly the thoughts and feelings I am having before a fight….she can always give me the last bit of excitement and energy I need before the fight.
We arrived back at the Barclays Center and set up camp backstage in the Nets’ locker room. There all of the girls hung out, gabbed, and sized each other up. But really…the time before a fight is the most nerve racking - so this is the time we nash a little food, chat with some of our friends and sparring partners, listen to music, and get our hands wrapped. Reno is by far the best hand-wrapper around!
I got my nails painted blue and yellow for the fight! I was in the blue corner and wore the blue uniform. As being a finalist in the Golden Gloves I got to keep my shorts, tank, socks and gloves.
I was the fourth fight — the perfect number!! I feel like being fourth bout, I am not going on too early as to be nervous about not warming up, and being the first for the crowd to watch….and not too toward the end that I’ve been waiting in the back for too long - plus by the end of the night a good portion of the crowd leaves. Being fourth, I had just enough time to get my hands wrapped, loosen up, and get nervous enough waiting in the back — it was perfect.
The most anxious time for me was putting the gloves on and the headgear and just waiting for my cue. At that point, my opponent Nisa and I are both waiting in the hallway just off of the crowd, listening for our cue. I seriously feel like a gladiator going out to battle in front of the the people. LOL! Nerves….and then just a calmness kind of takes over — I totally go on auto pilot.
At that point Nisa and I walk side by side with our corners (coaches) tailing right behind us…. we are funneled out to the arena through a pathway in the crowd. It was awesome to walk past my friends who were seated ringside, and see my name and picture on the megatron above head. I was taken to my corner and disrobed. This was it!
Now - I wish I could give you a blow-by-blow scenario of the fight…but it all becomes one big blur. Four, two-minute rounds with one minute breaks. It goes by like a flash. Highlights: feeling very calm and confident in the first two rounds… I got a lot of great shots off and she couldn’t touch me. It wasn’t until the last two rounds where she caught on to my weaknesses and swiftly stole them from me. She is one tough chick…not to mention tall! It was like fighting a stronger, more experienced me. She won by decision — and it was an honor to have fought her…especially at the Barclays. I would never take the experience back for the world!!
Although I did not win the gold gloves…I did win silver, which I wear with absolute pride!
Looking back on it all…. I trained my ass off for the first solid three months of 2013, in the cold ass snow and short days. NEARLY three months of sobriety and “clean living” as Mike Reno likes to call it… I was spending 3-4 hours at the gym almost every single day of the week. I didn’t get to spend much time with my friends outside of the gym for quite a while — and it was so damn amazing to have them come to my fight and support me with bells and whistles!
A big old shout out to my best friend Meg — she organized a group of 20 of my friends and procured tickets and made Tshirts….coining my original fight name “The Reach” — although, recently my teammate Nikki gave me a newly popular name of “The Glamour Hammer” — which I am called regularly at the gym.
As soon as my fight was done and I changed I went to great my friends and I was welcomed with a nice big beer. I cannot even express how amazing that cold adult beverage was!!! That night ended with more beers and a bit more shenanigans. Alas…so the shenanigans have kept on for the past few weeks!!
me with TEAM RENO!! Kimberly, Julie, Mike and Nikki
Me and some of the FDNY Bravest Boxing Team - Al, Bobby, Reno, Todd
eating a DELICIOUS quesadilla later that night with Meg
Rockin’ the silver gloves the next day at work on set
So what are my plans…?
Great question!! Right after the fight I took ten solid days and did absolutely nothing. Well…I worked - but didn’t do anything athletic. I have been back in the gym about every other day — really enjoying my workout. I have no stress, I have to big goals right now and that feels good! I got up last Sunday and felt like a long run and ended up doing 8.6 miles. I have had a beer every night since the fight — and it feels good! At the end of the day — this is a sport that I love, that I feel confident at, that I enjoy pursuing and being competitive at — but it is not my profession and summer time is my busy season with work, so boxing may have to go on the back burner for me…unless it fits my schedule. That’t not to say I won’t be active! I am still training and running, and will be going tomorrow - MAY 10th, 2013 - to see my teammate Julie fight at Gleason’s Gym. So…if you are round - please come by!! She is 16 years old and a little spit fire!!
me and Julie
Thank you all again for the support and following me along my journey to becoming a better fighter. I hope I am able to inspire others to take a path less traveled, you never know where it may take you!!!! This experience for me will forever impact me — it is so special to me. Just to look back at the hard work, the dedication and the sacrifices taken to get me to where I am now. I started from absolutely nothing - being super awkward and totally clueless. Reno used to say I looked like a giraffe caught in a fence…thats how far I’ve come. Now — every step I take has been a learning experience, and I look forward to learning more, getting more experience and helping other fighters become better through sparring and sharing our experiences together! Women’s boxing is a small community, but a very special one!