Since her amateur debut on July 14, 2012, Sandra Tovar has compiled an 8-3 record while honing her skills inside the boxing ring. Now, nearly three years after her first fight, the Dutcher Middle School 7th grader finds herself on the biggest stage of her career: the USA Boxing Junior Olympic and Prep National Championships, where she is set to compete at 101 pounds in the Intermediate division.
Held in Charleston, West Virginia, the five-day tournament runs from Tuesday to Saturday. Tovar is expected to fight at least three times in as many days as part of a five-girl bracket, marking the first tournament experience for the young Turlocker as well as her first out-of-state fight.
“It's going to be really good experience for me because they say there's different styles of boxing everywhere,” Tovar said. “My coaches say that no matter what happens I'm going to come back a different fighter because of the experience.”
Though she hasn't fought since February, Tovar has been preparing for her national debut with two-a-day practices mainly at the Delhi High S.A.L. 51FIFTY Boxing Club. Those practices often include sparring sessions with her male counterparts from surrounding gyms. Her experience sparring with the boys and her trust in her training have Tovar feeling confident in her odds to bring home a gold medal.
“My coaches are saying that if I can hang with the boys then I'll most likely be able to hang with the girls because boys usually have more power. Plus the boys that I spar have a lot of fights,” Tovar said. “I've been sparring like they're fights.”
Tovar will discover who her first opponent will be on Monday with the tournament draw. Her list of potential opponents include Mayjuela Terrazas from Texas, Donna Kipp from Montana, Jolene Bottini from New Mexico and Angela Murillo from California.
“I don't know anything about them. I just know where they're from,” Tovar said of her opponents. “But it's going to be really fun.”