LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Fox 4 continues to celebrate Women's History Month by highlighting Yesalee Alvarez, a 15-year-old boxer, fighting out of Lehigh Acres.
A push from her Mom to better herself led Alvarez to the ring. Since she was 11 years old, she found herself going to the Fort Myers Relations Center many times with her Mom. "She took me the same day... we signed up... and the next day I was already training!"
After seeing her talent, her coach knew she had to get in the ring for her first amateur fight. "Well, my first belt is actually a black and silver one — it was my first fight. I was four months in and my coach signed me up and he was like, 'you're fighting' and so I went and I won."
She's already decorated in belts, in just 4 years, Alvarez is not only known in the boxing world but is currently ranked 4th in the nation. An honor student, she takes any opportunity to better her mental and physical strength in the ring. She says that boxing just isn't a sport and that it's mental for her. "That's one of the main things — if you're not in the right mind in the right space to do it, it's very, very hard."
From working with a dedicated coach Monday through Friday to being mentored by Lehigh Acres native Tiara Brown, who was 2012's Women's World Championship Team gold medalist, Alvarez is looking to inspire girls, not only in Southwest Florida but across the country. She plans on going to the Olympics and adds, "if this is something that you're looking to do — I would say DO IT! No matter what, no. matter if they tell you that you can't do it, or you can't because this is a 'man's' sport. DO IT."
While she can pack a one-two punch, Alvarez says her real strength isn't just from her team in the corner, but the woman she calls her rock — "My Mom. I'm just really thankful for her, for everything she does. She's a hard-working woman. She quit her job to support me in all that I do."