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One on One Interview with Karen Dulin
by Rick McLean
April 4, 2009


(APR 4) Recently I was able to interview Featherweight contender Karen Dulin of Rhode Island, who is a rising prospect in women’s boxing. Here is a candid one on one interview about her life and career thus far in boxing.

McLean: What are your interests away from the sport and why did you get involved in boxing?

Dulin:  I do have some although I do have to admit that I am completely in love and obsessed with boxing. Being involved in projects that help others is very important to me. I like going to the beach to relax and love to travel, anywhere, anytime and to meet new people along the way. In addition, I like to write as well but recently have not had the time to. I am very restless so I like to be as active as possible and so love running, thankfully, as it is part of my training.

McLean: What got you into boxing?

Dulin: Learning to box has always been a big interest of mine however I started in martial arts (Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate) and did that for 7 years. I had nice kicks but always loved to use my hands. An obstacle I encountered was that I really wanted to fight but there was not anything in my discipline so I went to a boxing gym about 4 years ago.

McLean: Why do you compete in boxing?

Dulin: I absolutely love everything about the sport of boxing. Without a doubt I was born to be an athlete and a fighter. Unfortunately, I had a really messed up life when I was younger and I believe that if things were different I would have excelled in other athletic pursuits. The boxing ring is also a place where I can stand up for myself. I am a strong woman in many ways but often I can be too nice and have allowed people to walk on me in the past however in the ring, during the fight, I am not that person.

McLean: What club do you train at and who is your coach and team?

Dulin: I train at 401 Gym in Cranston Rhode Island. I would like to thank my trainer Jose Santos, my assistant trainer Mike Veloz and my manger is David Escobar. I have an amazing team and it has been a difficult journey finding them but well worth it as I know that I am finally in the right place and with the right people in my corner. Jose Santos is an amazing trainer; he goes to great lengths to assure that his fighters are well prepared for what lies ahead of them. He is someone who cares very much for his fighters and who pays attention to the specific needs of each of his boxers. Jose trains people as individuals, finding what style will best compliment them and inspires them to become the best version of themselves that they can be. I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for him and for my team.

McLean: Did you have an amateur career?

Dulin: My amateur record was 7-4 and I travelled to four of those fights by myself without a trainer. On of these competitions included the Women's National Golden Gloves in Florida in 2006. In that tournament I surprised many people by winning my first bout and then fighting a full, hard 4 rounds against Emily Klinefelter in the semi-finals. At that point in my amateur career I only had 5 fights to her nearly 50. I was very proud to have been in the ring and done so well against someone of her calibre, as well as having the strength to travel to that tournament on my own. I learned a great deal form that experience.

McLean: What is your preferred fight weight and do you have any plans of moving up or down in weight in the future?

Dulin: My current fighting weight is between Junior Featherweight and Featherweight, 122 – 126 pounds. I am most comfortable around 125ish but am willing to compromise as I think you have to be in order to remain active and successful in this sport. Also, I will fight whomever my team wants me to and I love to travel so I am open to change and challenge.

McLean: Were there any major changes you have made since your last match?

Dulin: Most of the changes that were made since my last fight were within myself, my personal life, etc. I feel that it was a good fight against Leadbeater, she is a tough girl and was busier than I was and more aggressive. However it was a fight I feel that if I was more confident and at my best I should have won.

McLean: How is training going?

Dulin: Training is going well. Jose is very good at working with me and finding out how I learn best which is so important in a trainer.

McLean: What is your current boxing record?

Dulin: My current professional record is 1-2-0 (1 KO).

McLean:  What are the highlights, struggles and learning experiences from you matches thus far?

Dulin: My pro debut against Ronica Jeffrey was a serious learning experience. I was devastated after that fight and knew that I needed to make some drastic changes in order to accomplish what I want to and be everything that I can possibly as a fighter. I make no excuses for that loss however I was injured at the time and it was serious enough that it hindered my training and certainly performance at the time. With that said however fighting the way I was at that time she would have beat me either way. The best thing that came from that experience was that it inspired me to find another trainer which was a very important decision and things have been very different for me since.

McLean: Your last match was very impressive. What are some of the highlights of that experience?

Dulin: I won by a 2nd round KO (1:39) and knew very little about Nasia Brown. We were told that she had very few amateur fights but you never know what to believe. I started with the jab and was landing that hard and well. Once I felt confident enough I started landing right hands and then putting the hook behind it. I was pushing her back and had her hurt in the first round. In the second round I came out strong pushing her back with the jab and then following with strong right hands and hooks. I think the best thing that I did in the ring that night was to be relaxed and I kept my composure throughout the match. It is very easy to get carried away and leave your self open but I respect boxing and know that no matter what is going on in there the other fighter always has a punchers chance.

McLean: Do you have trouble finding sparring partners?

Sometimes it's hard mostly because I live in Connecticut and my gym is over an hour away in Rhode Island. I also work full time so scheduling training is fine but scheduling sparring is a whole other story. I am also planning to move to Rhode Island to be closer to the gym where I train.

McLean: What are your short and long term goals for this year?

My goal is to fight as often as possible, wherever and whenever I can. I really want to rematch, in this order ideally: Emily Klinefelter, Christina Leadbeater and Ronica Jeffrey I want to put myself in a position where I can have the opportunity to fight for a world title and eventually want to fight the best female fighters out there. In my opinion that is the only way to be the very best.

McLean: What do you think about women’s professional boxing and what changes or improvements would you like to see in the future?

I think women's professional boxing has made some great progress and I am honoured to be a part of it. I feel that women's boxing is still far from getting the respect that it deserves! There are people who still view it as a "sideshow" and who don't respect or treat female fighters the same as they would them men. There is much room for improvement there! I think that there are many great female fighters now, one's who are serious about the sport and about helping it's growth, helping to see it grow even after they are retired. Also, I would like to see better opportunities for female fighters long after I am gone. Of course it would be great to see that happen while I'm involved in the sport but either way I hope to be a part of helping to make that change.

McLean: Is there anything you want to say to your fans or supporters?

I want to thank everyone who has believed in me. There have been many people and it helps to think of that when things aren't going well in my life. I really do appreciate the kind words and support of others and it undoubtedly outweighs the ignorance that I may come across. Also, I really want to recognize and appreciate my first trainer Earl Walsh. He was with me for my first year of boxing, before he became ill and passed away. Earl was kind and loving and filled a void in my life that I can not possibly explain. He made me believe and trust again that there are good men out there who can love and be caring without wanting anything in return. Earl literally gave me the last year of his life, helping me with rides to train when I didn't have a car, giving me everything I needed to box, but most important teaching me what a trainer is supposed to. I am forever grateful to him and hope to someday be able to give someone else what he has given me.

I would like to thank Karen for taking the time to complete this interview and wish her all the best in her career.

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