By Raquel Ruiz

Since a little girl she has conversations with God. Doesn’t remember exactly what she said to him, but on Saturday, July 30th, before her professional debut, Sulem Urbina, 26, asked for protection, to leave unscathed from the war and thanked him for giving her the opportunity to fulfill her childhood dream.

In the dressing room she kneeled and prayed, minutes before walking to the ring, where neon lights and the roar of at least five thousand people gathered at the Municipal Auditorium in Tijuana. The fans were excited waiting for the co-feature fight that Boxing Azteca had for the night Urbina facing Eloisa Martinez in the Featherweight division.

Urbina wore her favorite color, green lemon. She combined with gray satin fabric in some short shorts and a jacket she designed and was made by Lucia Anaya, one of her followers in Phoenix and who accompanied a delegation to Tijuana. In her wardrobe she embroidered the tribute that she makes to her brother Alexis Urbina, who was killed three years ago.

#ForYouAlexis Is the phrase hashtag that as a tattoo in her heart she now stamps on her clothes.

On Saturday when she greeted the audience after the emcee announced her name, Urbina raised her timidly. She knew that not only were those in attendance watching her, but thousands of regular viewers that follow every Saturday.

She wanted to give her best as she has always does. For this night, she was prepared fully for several months with her coach and husband Andrew Soto. Despite the nerves and the pressure, she was finding her rhythm, moving her upper body and legs, and letting her arms go to her rival in the ring. In the four rounds she reached the body and face of her opponent, who also responded with some good shots.

Urbina’s body without one gram of fat, released her jabs and left hooks landed several times on the face of Martinez, but it was the right hand, that maybe in the historic night for the Mexican born, raised in Arizona, gave the best body shots.

When the referee raised her hand after split decision was announced, Urbina looked a little shocked. At ringside, was the teacher of teachers of Mexican boxing, Julio Cesar Chavez who stopped her before her interview with TV Azteca.

“He –Chavez- congratulated me on the victory and said he would like to work with me and show me some things to improve,” Urbina said in the dressing room after the fight with a group of friends, journalists, documentary filmmaker and her third grade teacher who was there from Los Angeles.

“I’m very proud of her and it is an honor to see my elementary school student to fulfill the dream she had for 17 years,” said Gabi Evia Ryan, who was reunited with Urbina through Facebook.

Half an hour after her fight, she wanted to analyze what happened in the ring, and looked less tense. Suddenly, Urbina began to relax and the smile of triumph showed on her face. Her husband hugged and kissed her with great tenderness and pride, children from her gym Knockout Boxing Club, congratulated her, and her teacher with the complicity of an older sister hugged and shared the glory.

Urbina had finished her amateur career four months ago, signed her professional career with Zanfer Boxing two months ago and most of her fights will be televised.

“I promise I’ll keep training hard and every time I will be better,” Urbina said.

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Published by Raquel Ruiz

I’ve been an independent multimedia journalist since 2008 –previously, I was full time reporter. In 2015, two of my articles published in the Spanish weekly from the Denver Post, Viva Colorado, won the Jose Marti National Silver Award in Education and Immigration. I’ve been selected as the writer of the week for the Associated Press, for which I write as freelancer. I also write for the Spanish newspaper chain in the USA, Impremedia. In Europe, I write for the magazine ECOS based in Germany and, in Canada, I have been published, and my photographs printed on the most important newspapers and for the Canadian Olympic Committee. I have built the Social Media platforms for organizations like AMBC (American Boxing Confederation), Boxing Canada, Morris Law Group, PC, Teatro Nagual among others. I have the gift of making a brand shine. I was the Twitter expert for the prestigious newspaper The Guardian, in the UK, during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. My mottos: There isn’t a thing I can't achieve with the passion I put into everything I want to accomplish. Challenges are the ultimate fruit that feed my hungry, professional soul.

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