Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why We Fight: Maryguenn Vellinga

Maryguenn Vellinga

Weight Division:  Bantam Weight (112 lbs)
Fighting Record: 13 wins, 9 losses
Tournaments Won: 
2012 USA Bronze Medalist
2012 Ringside Silver Medalist
2013 USA Golden Gloves Silver Medalist 
2014 Ringside Silver Medalist
Future plans: USA 2015 Nationals - January 2015. My goal is to make it to the finals in hopes of qualifying for the Olympic trials, which takes the top 8 athletes in each division.

Facebook: Maryguenn Vellinga 

Photo by Maryguenn Vellinga

When and why did you start boxing?
I started boxing 5 years ago at the ripe old age of 27. I had been a dirt bag climber throughout my 20's but had shattered my ankle and was no longer climbing at the same level. I had also just had a daughter who was about a year old. I had always been really fit through climbing and outdoor sports and wanted to regain some of the strength I had lost through my injury and having a kid. I started googling body weight workouts and found several things referencing boxing so I decided to check out a gym. I loved the intensity but was really drawn to the technical aspect of the sport. In climbing I had developed a lot of body awareness and knew the importance of minor alterations in position. I could see boxing had a lot of those same intricacies and that it was HARD... I knew I had found my passion. I haven't looked back since.

What do you love about boxing?
I love that it pushes me to new limits, that it requires me to dig deeper than I knew I could, both mentally and physically. It's technical, yet primal. It's a test of my will, my strength, my stamina, my skill, and my heart.

What is the most challenging thing about boxing?
Not getting fights. To train and train and train and have fights fall through or just not have the opportunity is the hardest thing for me. I train because I want to compete, and not being able to compete frequently can make it very challenging. I make sure I'm always ready to fight in case an opportunity comes, but it's hard when you know it may be months and months away.

Do you ever experience negativity from other people because of your choice to be a boxer? How do you deal with it?
Definitely. I don't let others' criticism get to me much. When I hear peoples' negativity in regards to my choices, it gives me a chance to be grateful that I'm not a judgmental and negative person. I try to not engage or argue and stoop to their level. I try and respect others' opinions but if it really upsets me, I take that back to the gym and work harder.

How has the journey of becoming a boxer affected you as a woman and mother?
It has made me have to be confident in who I am and how I decide to live. Boxing has taught me that you get back what you put into something. That's true for most things, including being a mother. I give it my all. I don't like being identified as The Mom Who Boxes or The Boxer Who's A Mom. I see them as independent parts of who I am and I just want to be good at each of them respectively. 

What is the most important life lesson you've learned from boxing?
To be flexible and to adapt. You have to be able to adjust in the ring. You've got to know what you're up against and figure out how to pick it apart and break it down. In life you have to do the same, figure our what you're up against and how to overcome it. If you go into anything with one game plan and it doesn't work, you've got to be able to think quickly on your feet and make the necessary changes. 

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