Gonzalez, Chang and Wojcik enjoys golden moment in the ring
The USA’s Jajaira Gonzalez (USA), Chang Yuan (CHN) and Elzbieta Wojcik (POL) all claimed gold in the Nanjing 2014 women’s boxing tournament on 26 August.
Gonzalez defeated Ciara Ginty (IRL) three rounds to nil in the lightweight division, and then explained how she had been inspired by seeing women’s boxing make its debut on the Olympic programme two years earlier.
“This has been my dream since the time women’s boxing was introduced at the London Olympics in 2012,” she revealed. “I am so happy that all my hard work has paid off. It feels unreal.”
“This is the day we boxers live for. It shows that not only boys can do well in the ring, the girls are no less.
“I’m going to go back home and train hard. I will put in everything I have got to make it to Rio [for the 2016 Olympic Games].”
Gonzalez journey to Olympic success goes back much further. “I was eight and I was the only female boxer in my gym,” she explained.
“This boy looked at me and said ‘why is there a girl here?’ That day, I made up my mind to train hard so that I could beat him up real bad. And I did just that,” she recalled.
“I don’t remember his face now, but if he is watching me on television, I bet he must be biting his nails.”
Boxing runs in the teenager’s blood. She is coached by her father and two older brothers, Joet and Jousce, while she trains alongside her younger brother, JonJairo.
“It really helps to have my whole family into boxing,” she admits. “They know what they are talking about. I often train with my brothers and sometimes they hit hard. That makes me stronger and ready for competition.”
And she paid tribute to her family for all of their support and sacrifices in making her Olympic journey possible. “It never comes easy,” she said. “There are always a lot of people who have to work hard to make a boxer into a real fighter. I have to stay away from my family to train. It’s been three months since I have seen them.
“We have had our fair share of financial struggle,” she continued. “Sometimes, we would ask family members for help or even do carwashes and other events. My brother got me my boxing shoes. But in the end, I am happy that it has all paid off.”
“I was here for the gold. When I beat the youth world champion [Anush Grigoryan of Armenia] in the semi-finals, I knew that I had it in my pocket,” she said. “I’m an ordinary girl when I am not competing. I don’t pick any fights at all.”