Published on Sunday, September 26, 2010 by Stephani Whisenant
While most students try to knock out homework after school, senior Nayeli Lugo is in the ring trying to knock out her opponent.
Lugo, who has been boxing for three years, said it started off as just a fun work out routine.
“It was like a hobby at first”, Lugo said. “I just wanted to work out and I actually got interested in it. I wanted to keep doing it and actually do it professionally.”
The “hobby” soon turned into something Lugo wanted to take a step further, and she started practicing for competitions, which are frequent things for her now.
“I actually had a couple of [competitions] last month” Lugo said. “[I] got a lot of bruises everywhere.”
Classmates and teachers, like her engineering design teacher, Ted Vaughn, are often surprised to hear about her passion for boxing.
“This surprised me because she does not fit my mental view of a boxing personality,” Vaughn said.
Even though she’s not afraid to take a few punches in the ring, Lugo said she’s not naturally a tough person.
“In the ring I’m tough, but outside the ring no one would expect that I box,” Lugo said.
Lugo, who is on her third year of boxing, says it can be difficult trying to balance school and boxing.
“Right after school, if I miss [any practice], I try to do the work out on my own,” Lugo said.
This means going downtown to The Fight Club, and putting in time that she could be using for school work. Lugo says it’s worth it, especially when some of her proudest moments are in the rings, like her first match.
“I actually lost [my first match],” Lugo said. “I told myself I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was just like ‘no, I quit’, but you know how they say ‘quitters never win’? Well that’s kind of my saying too.”
Lugo’s hard work is not merely confined to the ring though.
“Nayeli is a good student, she works hard and is serious, and as one of my advanced students, she helps me out too,” Vaughn said. “If I get busy helping another kid she will kind of act as a teacher’s aid and help someone too. She is pretty good at communicating the work to others and doesn’t do it for them, but helps teach them how to do it.”
Lugo is not the only girl with a boxing history at Bryan High. Senior Denise Rezendiz has also been involved with boxing at The Fight Club.
“I just saw it, and I’ve always wanted to do something, but I don’t really like team sports” Rezendiz said.
Boxing came a little more naturally to Rezendiz, having grown up around a lot of boys.
“I have nothing but brothers,” Rezendiz said. “I grew up with a lot of guys and my brother always had me around his friends.”
Getting to be treated equal to her male opponents was one of Rezendiz’s favorite things about boxing.
“I liked it when they used mitts,” Rezendiz said. “It felt real because we would spar, and I got to fight with some guys.”
Rezendiz didn’t put up with being treated like a girl either, and encouraged her coaches to let them use mitts so the guys wouldn’t hold back when fighting.
“When the coaches had the mitts, [the guys] would hit you more, and tell you what to do or what not to do. It felt more real to me,” Resendiz said.
Rezendiz had to quit boxing due to the demands of work and school, but she says she misses it a lot.
“I always want to go back, but there’s never enough time and I didn’t want to be coming and going, and not be fully committed,” Rezendiz said.
Both of the girls agree that boxing has been a significant part of their lives. It gives them a way to channel out anger, and is something they can commit to while also bettering their health.
“It helps me focus on all aspects of my life including school,” Lugo said. “It also provides a way for me to destress.”