Sunday, August 1

the story of a Bolivian girl who fights her way into boxing

  • Gracce Flores, 12, has been boxing with boys since he was six, in a country where this sport is rare for women

  • He is waiting for time to pass to make the leap to professionalism

At 12 years old, Gracce Flores He has devoted half of his life to boxing, a discipline associated in Bolivia with men. The dream of this young fighter is to make the leap to professionalism. “Boxing is not for everyone” and “I want to be a world champion,” she defends, with confidence in her look and bearing.

She discovered this passion six years ago, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches at home and she sought to imitate movements and challenge her father, Beto, a former amateur boxer who never imagined that “blood “It would awaken that same passion in Gracce.

Wake up before sunrise

The little boxer gets up every day at 6 in the morning to start her training in Palca, a town 34 kilometers east of La Paz hidden among the hills, on the outskirts of which she has installed her training ground. By then his mother Mely has beaten the pair of raw Creole eggs that Gracce sips to get out immediately and start out in the crisp sunrise air.

“I jog for almost half an hour, there and back. On the way it’s smooth, back it’s fast (…) then I start to put on gloves, practice speed and nudge,” he explains. She has chosen her nickname, ‘Stone Hand, to honor her famous right hook. Her power in combat means that she does not find females her age with rivals, which is why she has only fought with males, even older than her.

Objective: the world champion belt

“I am convinced (…) I want to be a world champion,” proclaims Gracce, thus shutting down those who assured that she would soon “go back to the dolls.”

She admires boxers such as the Argentine Nicolino Locche or the American Rocky Marciano, the Mexican “Guerrerita” Torres and Jackie Nava, as well as the world champion of the Super Gallo category, the Bolivian Jennifer Salinas. “I would like to be like her,” he admits, before underlining that he admires her “offensive” way of fighting.

“I fight free, without guard, dodging and with counterattack (…) I give hooks, I wait for the moment and I counterattack”, looks at Gracce, who, to stay in shape, has banished carbohydrates and carbonated and sugary drinks from his diet. Instead, he’s been eating salads, healthy protein, milk, and plenty of water for a couple of years.

School, the other big priority

“The day I present low grades (at school) we suspend training,” his father Beto, who is in charge of his training, adds to EFE. The girl also considers boxing also gives her “a lot of discipline” in school and that mathematics is useful for her mental agility.

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The covid-19 pandemic has been an obstacle for Gracce to appear in exhibition matches, something that despite everything he has taken advantage of to continue working on physical and technical aspects between the hills and ravines of Palca.

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