By Charles White – Kindly taking time out of her busy training schedule, highly-touted 112 lb. amateur fighter Alex Love (15-6) sat down with me and answered my questions regarding her still-young amateur career and her goals for the sport of boxing.
Hi Alex, how are you doing this morning?
AL: I am doing excellent. If anything I am excited you took the time to get to know me!
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you first get your start in boxing?AL: I was a sophomore in high school and I wanted to get really buff and strong and be tough for basketball…kind of lame I know. I used to take the bus from my high school with a clarinet case in my hand and walk into the gym like a total badass.. By chance the gym I picked was owned by 4 times boxing/kickboxing world champion Kim Messer, who took me under her wing and showed me the ropes, literally the ropes, between whipping myself on accident with the jump rope and choking myself on the slip rope I must have fell in love with boxing somewhere in there (laughs).
There are people that suggest that cross-over athletes have little success in boxing most times. What are your thoughts on this?
AL: I disagree. I think it’s on the athlete to train their body for a sport that is obviously very different than soccer, tennis, or whichever. Coming from basketball, I think the foot coordination and change in speed and reaction time only helped me prepare for boxing.
Being a multi-sport athlete yourself, do you find it difficult to manage your schedule with regards to training for both basketball and boxing?
AL: When I found out that woman’s boxing was going to be in the Olympics for the first time I dropped everything. I dropped basketball and college and my job and dedicated myself 100% to the sport. I had so much support around me by friends and family that the transition was very easy.
Who are some of your favorite fighters, male or female?
AL: My favorite male fighter hmm…Manny Pacquiao because of his resilience but Mike Tyson for sure because of his excitement and his power. It’s hard to pick, I like so many fighters depending on my mood! For females, I would have to say Lucia Rijker. I haven’t seen a female with that speed and power and ability to make another fighter miss so easily.
What is it like being a female fighter in a male-dominated sport?
AL: Well I get to train with a bunch of buff, sexy guys so I guess it’s pretty great! On a serious note, just like anything, being a minority is never easy but I think boxing gyms are a lot more acceptable of women, if not excited, to have a female fighter because we try to go harder than the guys to prove ourselves. Most of my sparring partners are guys and they are great to work with, clearly guys are stronger than girls so when I get in the ring I’m prepared to fight tough opponents.
How do your loved ones feel about you fighting?
AL: At first I don’t think they understood why I would want do anything violent, but the more I believed in what I was doing, the more they believed in me and supported me. I’m a firm believer in leading by your actions and I think through my persistence they also grew to love the sport.
What drives you to work hard in the gym and keep coming back to take punches in the ring?
AL: I keep coming because I believe in something greater than myself. I have always dreamed of being an elite athlete and, as I mentioned earlier, with women getting the chance to compete in the Olympics, I feel as if I am a part of history. I’ve never been the kind of person to ever back down or stop learning. I want to be the best boxer I can be. If everyday I commit myself to getting better I also commit myself to becoming a better person which affects every aspect of my life.
Who are you trained by currently?
AL: I train in two different states. When I am in Washington I am trained by Mark Messer out of Ring Sports United and when I am in Colorado I am trained by Rick Lopez Sr. out of Strictly Boxing.
What does a typical day of training look like for you?
AL: Let’s see, I do my strength training in the morning and then I run sprints in the middle of the day and the evening is dedicated to boxing or sparring, whatever the day calls for. Pretty mundane.
Your current amateur record is 15-6 with an international record of 3-0, all in the 112 lb. weight class. How would you describe your style?
AL: That’s a tough one. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it. I move a lot and I am able to punch off my movement with a lot of fakes. Between my power and my conditioning I am a lot to handle at once.
Does your height (5 ft. 1 in.) hinder you at all in the ring, or do you consider it to your advantage?
AL: This whole height thing really hit me in middle school when everyone else started growing and I was wondering what happened to me! Christmas is rough because I feel like Santa’s little helper but since basketball labeling me as the shortest person ever I think it is one of my BEST advantages. First because you underestimate me and second I make up for it in speed and I am able to come up under my opponents and make them come down to my level. At the last fight, they nicknamed me “Baby Bull.”
Your career is still young, yet you have already accomplished some great things in the ring, including a silver medal at the National Golden Gloves. Is that your most proud moment in the ring so far?
AL: The silver medal at the Golden Gloves was my first ever championship fight and my first heart break ever but I wouldn’t consider that a proud moment. I would definitely say defeating the polish world champion and winning outstanding athlete of the Woman’s International Dual was my proudest moment which I think leads into your next question…
You defeated the Polish world champion Karolina Michalczuk. Tell us about this fight. How was it facing such an experienced opponent?
AL: This fight was the hardest fight I have ever had which isn’t saying a lot since my career is young, but Karolina had gone through all the other 112’s and just handled them all over the ring. I fought the last day and she was one of the most disliked girls from the other countries so I was so motivated to win no matter what. From the first round I knew in my heart that this was my fight so I boxed with great confidence and speed. When it came to decide who won, they raised my hand and I have never in my life felt so proud to be a boxer and represent the U.S., just feeling everyone’s vibe around me will be a moment I never forget. It was my closest fight ever, 17-16.
Ultimately, what are you hoping to accomplish in boxing? What is your main goal?
AL: I want to be an Olympic gold medalist. I guess there is no other way to put that!
Do you intend on turning pro after the Olympics?
AL: It is in my future. I plan on staying amateur for the next Olympics as well and then decide. Wherever the road leads I’m willing to sprint down it.
Do you have any fights lined up that we should know about?
AL: I fight in Bend, OR in a few weeks but the important fights are not until June, which are the 2011 USA Nationals that will determine who goes to the Olympics.
Other than boxing and basketball, what other interests do you have? And I remember I first met you in college, so what degree are you going for?
AL: Well, I think I am one of those people that have too many interests so I’ll just pick a few…I play guitar and attempt to sing songs which I greatly fail at and I absolutely love going hiking. At the moment I am not going to school, but I am now leaning towards criminal justice for the future.
Thank you for your time Alex. Any final thoughts to share with the readers?
AL: I just want to thank you again for this opportunity and to let anyone know who’s reading to spread the word about women being in the Olympics! It was only in 1993 that the first female amateur bout happened, so we have come a long way since then. Talk to you soon Charlie!
For more information on Alex Love, go to the following links:
For questions and comments, to schedule an interview, or to just chat about boxing, Charles White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-333-5911.