Turlock has a new, up-and-coming boxer who has big goals and aspirations for her future in the sport and her name is Elizabeth "Little Bullet" Esmaeili.
The 17-year-old prodigy from Turlock is coming off her first victory, which is just one of many more to come, she said. Esmaeili may have just started her amateur career, but she’s looking to compete at the highest level one day.
“For sure I found my calling, boxing was always a dream. Coming from gymnastics and cheer, I just always knew boxing would be a big part of my life, always had it in my genes. It’s in my blood, it truly is,” said Esmaeili.
Esmaeili is looking to motivate and represent both her hometown and her Assyrian culture.
“There are a lot of Assyrian people in the community and I want them to know,” said Esmaeili. “Also, pro MMA fighter Beneil Dariush wants me to be part of the team, because we are Assyrian as well. He wants everyone to know we all support one another, and all the glory goes to God... always.”
Esmaeili trains out of The Truth Boxing Gym in Turlock where she’s coached by Adrian Palacio.
“I also have to give a shout out to my assistant coaches, coach Tovar and coach Ricardo,” said Esmaeili. “I am the only girl on a six-team fight team. Five guys and one girl and they call me little bullet. They gave it to me in the ring because I fight like a bullet, hit like a bullet. I am fast and I punch hard.”
She is a role model for everyone who is a fan of boxing and to younger women.
She joins several others from Turlock who have put themselves on the map, such as Marco Delgado and Sandra Tovar, among others.
At such a young age, her goals are lofty — but attainable.
She started at the age of 15, but since she can remember, boxing was always in or around the family and she knew someday she would really begin to take it seriously.
Her father, Alfred Esmaeili, was a professional boxer in Iran and fought in the Asian Olympics.
“When I was younger, he always took my two older brothers…I was really young, and my dad always saw me watching and one day two years ago he pulled me from cheer and said to give boxing a try,” she said. “When I walked in I fell in love and I never get tired or bored.”
Prior to boxing, Esmaeili was a cheerleader and as well as a gymnast.
“I got really flexible and it helps with boxing, which is crazy,” said Esmaeili. “It also helped that my dad tried signing my brothers and I tried it that exact day and that is when I decided, boxing is truly my passion.”
In her first amateur match back on June 29 from Dreamland Boxing in San Jose, against Whitney Tyrell, Esmaeili seemed ready before she even arrived.
“My coach, he played a huge role in all of that and prepared me mentally and physically,” said Esmaeili. “I was physically ready, but mentally is a huge thing and my coach gave me a lot of talks, he always kept my mind in a positive stage and never let me doubt myself either.”
Weighing in at 90 pounds, Esmaeili was light, but her speed and effectiveness looked sharp while her mindset was as calm as can be.
“My mindset is I will give it my all…he always tells me that once you step in that ring, you can tell your opponent there is no way you trained more than me or put in more hours,” said Esmaeili. “There is no way they outworked me. One fact that I can always look at my opponent and it keeps my mind there.”
In the first round, Esmaeili began to attack relentlessly.
“I didn’t feel her punches, but I know she felt mine and there was an eight count in the first round,” said Esmaeili. “I was completely ready, determined and I knew I was going to win. I had my belt in my mind already.”
Tyrell was saved by the bell following the eight-count, and they went into the second round.
“Right off the bat again, I attacked her. We went 45 seconds and within that time I got the 8 count and TKO,” said Esmaeili. “She was from San Jose, but I didn’t care she was home. It is my house, my ring, my place.”
Esmaeili, who is a Denair Charter School grad, will turn 18 on August 1st and is striving for the next goal in boxing.
“I want to build my amateur career, then the Olympics and then go pro,” said Esmaeili. “For boxing, as of right now I am going to be 18-years-old, so gaining weight is the current goal. To gain healthy weight and reach 100 and 106, and slowly go up there by August 31st because there is a fight at Beautiful Brawlers and from this timeframe, I am going to be gaining weight much as I can from there.”