This week we have a special interview with badass amateur boxer Missy Fitzwater.
At 16 years old, the Missouri native was painfully shy and her own harshest critic. She picked up boxing on a whim, and what she stumbled upon was no less than a religious experience (read her full story here).
And Missy has become a devote follower. Not only is she training and fighting, she is also working hard to get her story out there, and promote boxing, and especially female boxing, to the general public. Read on to get the full scoop:
Elena: Hi Missy. So, tell me, why do you love to box? What has it done for you?
Missy: I’ve always felt that boxing is a unique sport that attracts people who have particular needs. For some it might be bullying or abuse; for others it could be self-esteem, or finding themselves going down a wrong path in their life. For me, I found that boxing lives in my soul. Boxing gave me an outlet for anxiety and self-loathing. It taught me to value myself.
Boxing provides discipline, confidence, acceptance, and empowerment. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is my philosophy of “Paying Dues,” working hard for everything and searching for the lessons in each loss and win, stumble or success. This is what drives me towards progress. It is powerfully cathartic and live changing.
E: What have been some of the most rewarding moments for you?
M: Some of the richest rewards I’ve received from boxing are having my trainer, Craig Cummings, and coach, John Brown, believe in me. Becoming a part of a team who truly supports, protects, and respects each other is what allowed me to begin believing in myself.
Having my hand raised in the ring for the first time, there is no feeling like that!
An unexpected reward happened when I found my voice and began writing. I was astounded when USA Boxing published my first piece, which led to Sting Sports asking me to write for them.
E: What are the challenges that come along with being a female boxer?
M: Female boxers come with a unique set of challenges. There aren’t a lot of us, so finding matches and gaining ring experience is difficult. More often that not, we spar with the guys in our gyms. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing opportunity that I am forever grateful for, but is not the same as working with another female.
Luckily, it’s an exciting time to be a female boxer. We’ve been welcomed to compete at the national level of the Silver Gloves and Golden Gloves tournaments for the first time ever! This is going to help increase the number of female boxers in unprecedented numbers. USA Boxing is committed to increasing their female membership from the current 10% up to 25% in the next year. These commitments will propel us into the future of boxing with a much sharper competitive edge.
E: That’s so exciting. What’s one thing you’d like people to know about female boxing?
M: Something I’d like people to know about female boxers is that we are fiercely competitive with one another, while also being fiercely supportive. Some of the top women in the sport, Christina Cruz and Mikaela Mayer, have given me guidance, support and encouragement. There is not a more powerful force than women empowering other women.
E: Amen to that. Where do you see yourself in the future?
M: My goal is to take amateur boxing as far as I can, and all that that implies! I want to be an advocate and ambassador for the sport and help in any way to make it more available and accessible. I’ve always said that boxing has the power to make our communities better places, one soul at a time. I’ve been allowed to coach kids and hope to continue to grow and strengthen as a coach. If boxing is my soul, then coaching kids is my heart!
E: Awesome work Missy. Thanks for checking in.