Ginny Fuchs is currently captain of the USA Boxing's Elite Women's National Team, and thanks to her inspirations such as George Foreman, Oscar de La Hoya and Laila Ali, she is now a 2016 Olympic Boxing hopeful.
Check out what she exclusively told In Touch about her time in the ring!
How did you get into boxing?
I have always loved sports. I was water skiing at a very young age and began running track competitively in high school. Long distance running was a sport I excelled at, and I joined the cross-country team as a walk-on at Louisiana State University.
I didn’t begin boxing until my sophomore year of college, and even then it was a physical activity I mainly did to stay in shape as cross-country runner. During the off-season, my friend who is a professional boxer invited me to workout with him. I picked up boxing quickly and really enjoyed it. A coach at the gym saw potential in me and asked if I wanted to start competing. I trained for an entire year before my first fight. I was so nervous before I stepped into the ring, but when the bell rang, I got into my zone, found my rhythm and dominated my first boxing match. I’ll never forget the feeling of having the referee lift my hand for the first time. A lot of my competitors were skilled athletes who had been boxing their whole life and I was still fairly new to the sport. However, I didn’t let that get in my way. I was able to compete in the 2012 US Olympic boxing trials and when I lost, I trained harder so that I could make it to the 2016 Olympics.
(Photo Credit: In Touch)
What was your reaction when you found out you made Team USA?
I am excited to be on Team USA, it has been an emotional journey. I was always considered the underdog, but that never stopped me from aiming for the number one spot. I have competed and won against the top female boxers in the world, such as Mary Kom. In female boxing however, being on the Olympic team doesn’t guarantee I’ll fight in Rio. Olympian and legendary runner, Steve Prefontaine has been a huge inspiration for me. Along this journey, I’ve always looked up to him and his drive is incredible. I try to channel that when I’m training and competing. In his 24 years of life, he accomplished so much such as competing in the 1972 Olympics.
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What is it like to compete in such a male-dominated sport?
It can be tough. We used to not get treated the same as male boxers but now women are starting to get more recognition globally. We just have to make sure it is known we work just as hard and go through the same challenges as men. We are boxers too, and deserve the same recognition. There is definitely a stigma out there for women in sports and we have to fight harder for our successes. Boxing wasn’t an Olympic sport for women until 2012, so there is some clear underestimation happening. I don’t want to downplay the strides we’ve made for women, but at the same time, I think every female athlete, including myself, has faced scrutiny based on their gender. That doesn’t mean that the men don’t support the women boxers. I have personally given advice and learned from the greats, like Oscar De La Hoya and George Forman. It is refreshing to see them treat women boxers with respect even though they have dominated in their own careers. I love to see my fellow female athletes out there training hard and excelling in their careers because it proves that women are just as capable as men.
What’s been the biggest struggle you’ve faced?
Growing up and in my middle school years, I struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia. It took time and work to combat these issues, but pursuing athletics helped motivate me to take care of my body. Whether you’re living out your daily life or involved in athletics, your performance suffers if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. When I realized this, I was driven to be the best version of myself. To get through the tough days I remember how far I’ve come. This isn’t an easy sport, but all my hard work has paid off. I’ve beaten the best and I remember those victories when things get tough.
What would you say to female athletes who may face similar struggles? What do you think is most important for girls to know, whether they be athletes or just making their way through their teen years?
I would encourage them to continue pressing toward their goals. Don’t give up no matter how hard it may get. I have found that believing in myself and my ability has taken me a long way. It drives me to work hard to become the best I can be in this sport. It’s important for girls to know that their own resilience and determination is stronger than anyone telling them they can’t achieve success. Recently, the legendary Laila Ali stopped by at the Olympic Training Center and shared her words of wisdom with the boxers. She has broken gender barriers and held her own. When I have down time, I will focus on important community projects. I would like to give back and start an initiative to help teen girls develop positive self-confidence.
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