Boxing: Park Ridge boxer Alicia Gutierrez to train with Marines
Maine South High School's Alicia Gutierrez | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 1:09PM
PARK RIDGE — Alicia Gutierrez has spent the last six years of her life committed to boxing, where hard work and discipline are vital for success.
Over the next four years, Gutierrez, 18, hopes to use the hard work and discipline she’s developed as a boxer and reach success with the United States Marine Corps.
“It’s always been in the back of my head since I can remember,” she said of enlisting. “I like the discipline, just having that dedication and that schedule you have every day. I can serve my country, and hopefully while I do that I’m going to be able to do the sport that I love.”
In the six years since she first entered the ring, Gutierrez has emerged as one of the region’s top boxers in her weight class and has regularly traveled outside of Illinois to find comparable competition. She developed by working with trainer Nate Jones, who won a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics and is an assistant trainer for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Jones told Yahoo! that Gutierrez “is going to be one of the best at 122 (pounds).” Gutierrez, who graduated from Maine South in January, holds similar expectations for herself. The Park Ridge resident hopes to continue improving when she joins the Marines’ boxing team, simultaneously serving her country and pursuing her dream of the 2016 Olympics.
One of the people she hopes helps her reach the Olympics is Jesse Ravelo, who coaches the All-Marines boxing program and USA Boxing at the London Olympics. Gutierrez was originally to meet with Ravelo in April and leave for basic training in September, but an in April postponed both.
Before she broke her right hand on the edge of a railing, Gutierrez had suffered a boxer’s fracture — an injury where many hairline fractures in her fifth metacarpal made it painful to throw punches. By breaking her hand and pinky finger, she was forced to rest.
While disappointed about missing three months of boxing, her broken hand didn’t lead to any deterioration of skills, she said. She’ll fight Sunday at El Rey Ballroom, in Chicago.
“I’m still a little bit out of shape, but I’m doing my best to get back,” said Gutierrez, a three-time Silver Gloves champion. “I’ve been running every day and watching what I eat. I’m not worried about it.”
She’s now in the midst of two-a-days and three-a-days preparing for her fight and basic training later this year.
“Every time I would train, my hand would hurt because of those hairline fractures, so I guess it was kind of a good thing that it broke because I finally let it heal,” Gutierrez said. “I love being in the ring and I love to do this sport. I’m really excited to be back.”