ó Vanessa Rojas knows what you think.
I donít look like a boxer ó however, I feel like a
boxer," said Rojas, 20, of Seattle.
recent evening, she was the only woman practicing at White
Center PAL Boxing Gym ó although thatís not always the
started learning to box at Sea Mar Youth Boxing in the South
Park neighborhood of Seattle while still in middle school. Her
parents were not initially on board.
just see it as your gender. Sports for boxing, is normally for
men," they told her.
I tried out for gymnastics and I tried out for softball, I
told them that I didnít feel comfortable with it, and I feel
more comfortable with boxing."
joined White Center PAL Boxing Gym a few years ago. Itís a
community youth boxing gym started by the Police Activities
League in 2004, and now coach Tony Rago runs it out of the old
handball courts at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center
with fellow coach Keith Weir.
style is more of a straight-up boxer ó she doesnít do a
lot of fancy footwork, not a lot of hot dogginí; she likes
to stay right up in your face, and box with you," said
got all the punches down, sheís got all the moves, but she
needs to learn to keep her head up," said Rago. "She
tends to dive in with her head first and then thatís when
she gets hit the most."
prepared herself quietly with a little jump rope and some
light shadowboxing before "The Moment of Truth," the
most recent amateur tournament held by White Center PAL
gymnasium inside Evergreen High School in Burien is
transformed to look and feel like a pro show ó with the
lights down, music pumping, and the roller- coaster swells of
supporters cheering on their boxers.
since I lost my first fight, I told myself that wonít happen
again," Rojas said. For White Center, she had lost one
and won four bouts up to that point.
Iím in the ring, I feel like Iím a goddess. I feel like Iím
out of the blue corner, Rojas wore down Renada Walcome of the
University of Washington boxing club in the 125-pound weight
class and won on points.
the bout, her mom, sister, niece and other family members were
waiting to congratulate her and take pictures as Rojas held up
her trophy in one hand and index finger raised in a number one
on the other.
to train at White Center PAL hinges on her career ó Rojas
recently got her degree in Culinary Arts from South Seattle
College, and is on the hunt for more restaurant experience,
which will affect her schedule.
the challenge and support she gets at the gym over the past
few years have kept her coming back.
builds my spirit, and it encourages me to go further."
The Seattle Times