I’ve been an amateur boxer for the past 15 years . When most of my peers were heading to college, I set my sights on the Olympics. I almost got there too - as a female boxer, I held five national titles and made it to the first-ever women’s Olympic boxing trials in 2012. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury to my shoulder during the trials and was medically disqualified from the tournament.
My Olympic dream was attached to me being a female athlete . It took losing the trials for me to really confront my gender identity and deal with the fact that I am transgender. Once I decided to medically and legally transition, I was certain I wanted to continue competing, but this time in the male division. The International Olympic Committee had already created a policy to allow trans athletes to compete, so USA Boxing used this as a guideline to create a policy for transgender boxers in the United States when I approached them about changing my gender division for competition.
To comply with USA Boxing regulations, I took two years off from boxing competitively to undergo hormone therapy . During this time, I also adjusted my training style to accommodate the physical changes I was experiencing (including increased muscle mass, speed and stamina).
I got back in the ring, as a man in the amateur division, on May 5, 2016 and won my comeback fight . I’ve been accelerating my training ever since. I train two to three times a day, six days a week. Training consists of strength training, running, boxing drills, and sparring pros at least three times a week. My sparring partners are professional and up-and-coming amateur male boxers in my weight class (the featherweight division, 126 pounds).
Now my coach and I are preparing for my pro debut. Golden Boy Promotions (Oscar De La Hoya’s company) paid for my medical exams, and I was granted my license by the California State Athletic Commission on September 4, 2018 - making me the first transgender professional boxer in US history.
There’s a big promoter interested in putting me on a card (giving me a slot at a boxing event, just like a slot on a bill at a music event) before the end of the year. But there’s a lot of expenses associated with this next big move. As of now, I’ve only had one sponsor as a male boxer: the Long Beach LGBT Center. And like most boxers, I fully fund my own training, which can run as high as $2,500 per month when I need things like physical therapy and myofascial release to aid in recovery from the rigor of training.
It’s imperative that I spend as much of my time as possible focused on training (and not working a 9-to-5 job on top of that schedule). While this is true for all pro boxers, as the first transgender boxer, I have a lot of naysayers doubting whether I can hold my own against cisgender men - or whether I belong in the ring at all. I definitely have a spotlight on me, and I want to prove that transgender athletes have the right and the ability to compete at an elite level, as much as anyone else.
Because of this focus, I have chosen to forego a full-time job and launch my own business
(https://darkhorsedm.com/) as a digital marketing entrepreneur. Running my own business gives me the flexibility to set my own hours - allowing me to get to the gym as much as possible. But while I can cover basic expenses this way (rent, car payment, food, etc.), I simply don’t have enough to cover the expense of turning pro.
Anyone who knows me knows I can be a very proud person, to the point that I have a hard time asking for support when I need it. But I want to believe that as much as I have naysayers, I have more supporters out there who want to see me fight. It would mean a lot to me to have you, my community, as my collective sponsor, so I can prove to you that I am truly a People’s Champ.
If you could support my GoFundMe by making a donation and then sharing it with your network on email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I would greatly appreciate it. I know that money can be tight, so please know that even $5 helps me get closer to my goal!
Please use #LetPatFight to help raise awareness about my journey. And please tune in to my pro debut - I’ll let you know as soon as we get the date locked down.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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