Back To The Ring With Empty Arena

Photo Top Rank Boxing

By Raquel Ruiz

Mikaela Mayer of Los Angeles (12-0, 5KO) will be setting the new pace in boxing on June 9 in a fight without spectators that will take place at the the Grand Ballroom of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The decorated Top Rank boxer has been speeding her climb to the summit of her weight division. Mayer is trained by respectable Olympian coach Al Mitchell and she will be boxing against Helen “Iron Lady” Joseph of Nigeria (17-4-2, 10 KOs).

The card has six fights headlined by USA sensation Shakur Stevenson of New Jersey (13-0, 7 KOs), who will face Puerto Rican contender Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs).

Mayer and Stevenson have been in camp getting sharp and ready, while most of the world has been secluded in their own houses during the Pandemic. It will be with out doubt a great challenge for Mayer and Stevenson and the rest of the card, to fight without the roar of the public, that gives them an injection of adrenaline to perform in the ring.

“Yes you are right, having a crowd there definnitely pumps me up and is something I immediately loved about the pros.” Said Mayer in a phone interview.

She goes further on her thoughts about the new conditions and that perhaps the silence in the arena could play in her favor.

“I haven’t focused too much on the fact that there won’t be an audience because the second that bell rings all of that goes out the window anyway and I’m zoned in. It may even play into my favor since yes, I’ll now be able to hear coach Al’s voice very clearly. A voice I’ve always been very in tune with even in the middle of a fight.” Said Mayer.

The empty arena vs the boxing aficionados around the world thirsty of their favorite sport will be a great barometer for the “new normal” in boxing.

“I am so proud and excited about the fact that a female bout is being broadcasted as the co main for the FIRST fight back since the pandemic. It’s bigger than me at this point because the world will be watching. Even more so than before seeing as no other live sports are happening right now outside of the UFC. It’s a chance for me to showcase not just myself but women’s boxing, and on the most popular sports network in the world-ESPN. I feel a duty to put on an exceptional show and rep us women well. ” Said Mayer. 


The art of writing / El arte de escribir

“When we write, we create, and when we offer our creation to one another, we close the wound of loneliness and may participate in healing the broken world. Our words, our truth, our imagining, our dreaming may be the best gifts we have to give.”Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and With Others

My bilingual (English/Spanish) workshops based on the Amherst Writers and Amherst (AWA) method are ideal to write our feelings and thoughts in a free style setting within non-hierarchical and safe, confidential space. In the curse of the two and a half hours session there are two writing exercises and participants will write from 10-15min in each. They will then read their work to the group (encouraged but not mandatory) and receive only positive responses about their pieces. 

Our workshops are on Zoom and the maximum number of participants is eight (8). For further information about the AWA method or upcoming classes, send me an email. If you want to know more about the AWA method click here.


Letters from the border / Cartas desde la frontera

The dialog about immigration is one of the main Troya Horses we have in our country of the United States. Because of it, as an artist, poet, writer, activist, and immigrant, I feel responsable to voice the voiceless and use art in a human conversation. My participation in Cartas Desde La Frontera, written by Dave Rivas and being produced by Teatro Nagual, is like putting my heart on the stage to be on multiple characters that I feel deep inside my womb as my own.

The first time we staged Cartas de La Frontera in Sacramento, it was on 2018 at the Sofia Theater, and at the Pantheon de Sacramento. Currently we are rehearsing this artistic piece on Zoom due to the world pandemic circumstances, and plan to release our first performance very soon. If you want to know more about and see videos or pictures from our 2018 performance, click here.


Latinas toman por asalto boxeo amateur en Estados Unidos

 -Esta historia fue publicada en La Opinion.

Por Raquel Ruiz

Todo el equipo que participa en el campeonato mundial en India se compone de chicas de sangre mexicana o puertorriqueña 

Ocho boxeadoras de origen hispano, entre los 17 y 18 años, conforman el equipo juvenil de los Estados Unidos que se encuentra en la ciudad de Guwahati, en el noreste de India, disputando el campeonato mundial de esta categoría.

Es la primera vez en la historia del boxeo de los Estados Unidos, que comenzó sus competencias olímpicas en 1904, que una escuadra es representada totalmente por latinas.

Todas ellas nacieron en Estados Unidos y en su mayoría hablan los dos idiomas –inglés y español-, pero sus familias inmigraron de México y Centroamérica.

Dos de las ocho pasaron a la semifinal: Isamary Aquino (54 kg) y Citlalli Ortiz (69 kg), ambas de 17 años.

En su cuarta edición, el campeonato mundial juvenil organizado por la Asociacion Internacional de Boxeo Amateur (AIBA por sus siglas en inglés) atrajo a 160 boxeadoras de 31 países. En 2015 Estados Unidos ganó dos medallas de oro con Jajaira González (60 kg) y Claressa Shields (75 kg).

Quieren repetir oros

Arturo Ramos III, uno de los entrenadores de Isamary Aquino desde que ella tenía 12 años, cuando la boxeadora se mudó con su familia desde Illinois, dijo que no le sorprendería ver a su pupila quedarse con la presea dorada.

“Se ha preparado durante muchos meses para esta competencia y ya sacó del camino a dos excelentes boxeadoras de Alemania y Ucrania”, dijo Ramos III, quien hace parte de una familia de boxeadores y entrenadores que en San Antonio, Texas es toda una institución y tienen su gimnasio al sur de la ciudad.

Lastimosamente, Estados Unidos es el único país representando al continente americano en India, no obstante que cuenta con 48 federaciones de boxeo activas. La Federación de boxeo de Estados Unidos, USA Boxing, tiene en estos momentos 3,000 boxeadoras inscritas en sus filas y la popularidad de este deporte se ha despertado desde la inclusión en los Juegos Olímpicos en el 2012 cuando Marlen Esparza (51 kg) ganó medalla de bronce y Claressa Shields (75kg) el oro.

Continue leyendo aqui


Boxeadoras a la conquista del pugilato

Marlen Esparza y Nicola Adams nos cuentan cómo

Entrevista (inglés)

En pocas horas,  6 de mayo, en Las Vegas, Nevada, la peso mosca Marlen Esparza tendrá su segunda pelea profesional en la cartelera mexicana más importante de Estados Unidos, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Esparza (1-0-0) se enfrentará a Samantha Salazar (2-3-1) en cuatro rondas de 3 minutos. La pelea se podrá ver en HBO Youtube.

La también peso mosca, Nicola Adams por otro lado, tendrá su segunda pelea profesional el 13 de mayo en su ciudad natal de Leeds, Yorkshire, Londres.

Esparza y ​​Adams fueron durante muchos años dos de las boxeadores más competitivas en los amateurs en su división. Esparza medallista olímpica de bronce (2012) y Adams doble medalla olímpica de oro (2012 y 2016). Ambas cuentan con títulos mundiales, títulos continentales y títulos nacionales, pero nunca se han enfrentado.

Nicola Adams sparring in previous her second pro-fight. San Carlos, CA, April 29, 2017. Photo: Arte Clandestino, Leo Ceballos.
Nicola Adams sparring in previous her second pro-fight. San Carlos, CA, April 29, 2017. Photo: Arte Clandestino, Leo Ceballos.

En la actualidad, Esparza y ​​Adams viven y entrenan en San Carlos, California, donde hicimos esta entrevista, en la cual nos cuentan sobre porque prefieren los asaltos de tres minutos, cómo hacer que el boxeo femenino sea el evento principal en las carteleras de Las Vegas, cómo lograr una mejor bolsa por pelea y sus metas para pelear por los títulos en su peso. También hablaron de sus experiencias personales con el boxeo y la familia.

Entrevista (inglés)


Women boxers to the conquest of pugilism

Marlen Esparza and Nicola Adams tell us how 


Marlen Esparza sparring previous to her second pro-fight. San Carlos, CA, April 29. Photo Arte Clandestino -Leo Ceballos.In few hours, May 6,  in Las Vegas, Nevada, flyweight Marlen Esparza will have her second profesional fight in the most important Mexican card in the USA, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Esparza (1-0-0) will face Samantha Salazar (2-3-1) boxing 3 minute rounds and will be part of a free-view before the televised portion of the HBO pay-per-view event (9 p.m. ET). It will be live-streamed on HBO’s Youtube channel.

Flyweight Nicola Adams on the other hand, will have her second profesional fight on May 13 in her hometown of Leeds, Yorkshire, London.

Esparza and Adams were for many years the most competitive boxers in the amateurs in their weight division. Esparza bronze Olympic Medalist (2012) and Adams gold Olympic medalist (2012 & 2016). Both of them had world titles, continental titles and national titles, but have never faced each other.

Nicola Adams sparring in previous her second pro-fight. San Carlos, CA, April 29, 2017. Photo: Arte Clandestino, Leo Ceballos.
Nicola Adams sparring in previous her second pro-fight. San Carlos, CA, April 29, 2017. Photo: Arte Clandestino, Leo Ceballos.

Currently, Esparza and Adams are living and training in San Carlos, California where we did this interview, in which they tell us about the three minutes rounds, how to make women’s boxing more popular on main events in big cards in Las Vegas, their goals to fight for titles… and their personal experiences with boxing and family.



2017 Opens With a Bang for Women’s Boxing

Sulem Urbina vs Kumora Yang
Sulem Urbina vs Kumora Yang

Several amateur boxers, among them Olympic medalists, who have signed or they are already boxing in the pro ranks will have their fights in February, March, and April 2017.

Varias boxeadoras amateurs que acaban firmar en el profesionalismo o ya han saltado, tendrán sus combates en febrero, marzo y abril de 2017. 

First to jump in the ring in 2017,  it’s Mexican born, USA resident Sulem Urbina Soto, who will have her 4th pro fight in the Fly division this weekend Feb 18th in Sonora, Mexico vs Mexican Kumora Yang. The fight will be televised on Box Azteca 7

La primera que saltará al ring es Sulem Urbina Soto quien tendrá su cuarta pelea profesional en peso mosca este fin de semana 18 de febrero en Sonora, México vs compatriota Kumora Yang. El combate será televisado en vivo en Box Azteca 7.

Claressa Shields 

Two times USA Olympic Gold Claressa Shields will be fighting for NABF Title on March 10th in the middleweight division, against Szilvia Szabados at MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan. The fight will be the main event on Showtime. Szabados from Hungary holds a record of 15 victories, 6 KO´s and 8 losses. Shields will have her 2nd pro-fight.

La doble medallista de oro olímpica Claressa Shields boxeará por el titulo NABF en marzo 10 en la división mediana en contra de la húngara Silvia Szabados en el MGM Grand Detroit en Michigan. La pelea será la principal de la cartelera y se pasará por Showtime. Shields tendrá su segunda pelea profesional, mientras que el record de Szabados es 15-8-6KO.

Claressa Shields vs Silvia Szabados
Claressa Shields vs Silvia Szabados

Marlen Esparza

On March 23rd, Olympic Bronze medalist and Latina sweetheart Marlen Esparza will have her pro debut in Indio, CA when Golden Boy Boxing Promotions and ESPN first broadcast featured rising prospects, former world champions and former Olympians. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will broadcast the fights live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Golden Boy hasn’t revealed yet Esparza’s opponent.

El 23 de marzo, la boxeadora medalla de bronce olímpica, Marlen Esparza tendrá su debut profesional en la cartelera de Golden Boy que pasará por ESPN. Se desconoce aún la contenedora de la estadounidense hispana con mayor número de seguidores en el país del norte y en general en todo América Latina. Esparza es la primera boxeadora en firmar con el legendario Oscar de La Hoya. 

Marlen Esparza Pro-Debut
Marlen Esparza Pro-Debut

Katie Taylor

From Europe, Ireland most respected athlete and boxer, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Lightweight Katie Taylor will have her 3rd pro fight in the O2 arena in London on March 4th vs unknown opponent on David Haye-Tony Bellew card. Fight will be televised live on Sky Sports.

La icónica y respetada Irlandesa oro olímpico 2012 peso ligero Katie Taylor, tendrá su tercera pelea profesional el 4 de marzo en la O2 Arena en Londres, en la cartelera de David Haya vs Tony Bellew y se televisará en vivo por Sky Sports.

Katie Taylor 3rd pro fight
Katie Taylor 3rd pro fight

Nicola Adams

UK sensation and 2X Flyweight Olympic Gold medalist Nicola Adams to make professional boxing debut on Terry Flanagan’s undercard at the Manchester Arena on April 8th live at BT Sport. Adams is having a boxing camp with Marlen Esparza in Northern California.

Por su parte Nicola Adams, del Reino Unido, doble campeona olímpica en el peso mosca tendría su debut profesional el 8 de abril en la arena del Manchester, su contenedora aún se desconoce. Actualmente, Adams y Esparza se encuentran en un campo de entrenamiento en el area de la bahía de California, después de haber pasado un mes entrenando en Londres. 

Nicola Adams Pro Debut
Nicola Adams Pro Debut


Shields & Crews pro-debut in Las Vegas

Claressa:Francon faceoff

By Raquel Ruiz

The weigh-in went super slow today at #KovalevWard super fight. Unfortunately, the women were at the end of a very boring program and lots of people had stepped out by the time they took to the scale, including me, who needed to get a towel to dry my clothes because one of the boxers accidentally spilled Gatorade on my miniskirt.

ClaressaShields (167lbs) and FranchonCrews (168lbs) made weight without problems, and I had the opportunity to chat with Franchon, who as always was very gracious in answering questions.

She wasn’t ready when they called her for the fight, nor had she planned to make her pro-debut, but how she was going to pass up this opportunity? So she got herself together, lost some extra weight and started training. And here she is in Vegas with a great attitude, ready to box tomorrow against a woman who is considered the best female boxer in the world, Claressa Shields.

“I’m very happy to be here to box on this card,” said Crews. “I feel it’s an opportunity for me and to advance the agenda of women boxing.”

It will be the first time these two great boxers fight without headgear.

According to Crews’ coach Patrice Harris, it won’t be a problem for them.

“Actually we will have better visibility and we know the need to protect ourselves to not  get cut,” said Crews.

Claressa told me in 2012 when I interviewed her the first time: “My game plan is to continue working hard to the point of knowing what it would take to beat me. If I do that, and then it becomes impossible to beat me.”

Until now, with two Olympic gold medals, World, Panamerican and Continental championships, it has been impossible to beat her.

Will it be the same in the Pros?



Sulem Urbina Triumphs in Pro Debut


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.

Photo Gallery



Sulem Urbina Triunfa en Debut Profesional



Por Raquel Ruiz

Desde niña tiene conversaciones con Dios. No recuerda exactamente que le decía, pero el sábado 30 de julio, antes de su debut profesional, Sulem Urbina, de 26 años, le pidió protección para salir ilesa de la contienda y le dio las gracias por darle la oportunidad de cumplir su sueño.

En el camerino se arrodilló minutos antes de salir al escenario en donde luces de colores y el ruido de por lo menos cinco mil personas reunidas en el auditorio municipal de Tijuana, esperaban la pelea coestelar de Box Azteca, que ella protagonizaba enfrentando a Eloisa Martinez en peso pluma.

Urbina vistió su color favorito, verde limón. Lo combinó con gris en tela de satín en un par de shorts cortos y chamarra que ella diseñó y una de sus seguidoras en Phoenix, Lucia Anaya confeccionó. En su vestuario se destacaba en alto relieve el homenaje que la boxeadora hace a su hermano Alexis Urbina, asesinado hace tres años.

#ForYouAlexis es la frase que como un tatuaje lleva Urbina en el corazón y ahora estampa en su ropa.

El sábado cuando saludó al público luego que el maestro de ceremonia dijera su nombre, Urbina tímida elevó su mano. Ella sabía que no sólo la veían las personas del recinto, pero miles de televidentes que siguen cada sábado las carteleras de boxeo por Azteca 7, La Casa del Boxeo.

Quería dar lo mejor de ella, como siempre hace; por ello se preparó a cabalidad por varios meses con su entrenador y esposo Andrew Soto. Pese a los nervios y la presión fue encontrando su ritmo, soltando sus brazos y fintando a su oponente. En los cuatro rounds llegó al cuerpo y la cara de su contendora, quien también respondió con algunos buenos golpes.

De su cuerpo sin un solo gramo de grasa, su jab y gancho de izquierda salió y aterrizó varias veces en la cara de Martínez, pero fue la derecha la que tal vez en la noche histórica para la boxeadora sonorense, criada en Arizona, le dio los mejores golpes al cuerpo.

Cuando el juez le levantó la mano al final del combate televisado, Urbina se le veía todavía un poco en shock. Bajo del cuadrilátero y fue el maestro de maestros del boxeo mexicano, Julio Cesar Chávez quien la detuvo antes de su entrevista con Azteca TV.

“Me felicitó por el triunfo y me dijo que le gustaría trabajar conmigo y mostrarme algunas cosas para mejorar”, dijo Urbina en el camerino después de la pelea a un grupo de amigos, periodistas, documentarista y a su profesora de tercer grado de primaria quien fue a verla desde Los Ángeles.

“Estoy muy orgullosa de ella y es para mi un honor ver a mi estudiante cumplir el sueño que tenía desde hace 17 años”, dijo Gabi Evia Ryan, quien se reencontró con Urbina a través de Facebook.

Media hora después de su pelea y de querer analizar lo que sucedió en el tinglado, Urbina comenzó a relajarse y la sonrisa del triunfo a dibujarse en su cara. Su esposo la abrazó y besó con inmensa ternura, los niños de su gimnasio Knockout Boxing Club, la felicitaron y su profesora la abrazó con la complicidad de una hermana mayor quien comparte la gloria.

Urbina terminó su carrera amateur hace cuatro meses, firmó la profesional con Zanfer Boxing hace dos y la mayoría de sus combates serán televisados.

“Prometo que seguiré entrenando muy fuerte y cada vez seré mejor”, dijo Urbina.

Galeria de fotos: