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Raquel Miller takes the desert by storm and wins Desert Showdown Boxing Championship
Source/Blanca Gutierrez
Photo: Lori Steinhorst
July 23, 2011


(JULY 23) The 10th annual desert showdown in Palm Desert, California, is the second largest amateur boxing tournament in the U.S. It is a chance for boxers from all over the country and Mexico to showcase their talents in the ring. This tournament is a great experience since the competition is very deep. This year’s event drew over 1,000 boxers.

When we were getting ready for the trip we had Miller competing in the 165 lb weight class division, since she was using the tournament experience as preparation for the National PAL championships, to qualify for the Olympic trials so we naturally wanted her to fight at the Olympic weight,” her coach and owner of Baby Face Boxing, Blanca Gutierrez said.

The day before the draw of the competition we were told there were no 165 lb fighters registered but that at the 152 lb weight class there was open fighters. If she lost 13 lbs she could fight in the 152 lb weight category, if she wanted to fight for the title. So, we decided to have her lose the weight over night and get her on the scales at 152. That task within itself would be a tough one for any athlete, but Miller wanted that belt so bad that she would run that off in the middle of the night and the next morning to weigh in. As the brackets were set for the fights, Raquel would be slated to fight against 2 Southern California fighters and she would have one extra day to lose the weight and keep it off.

If you could see the dedication and sacrifice Miller puts in to every work out, you would realized there is something very special about her. She breaths, eats, and sleeps boxing and basically she has sacrificed everything for this tournament. Miller says. “I trained really hard for this fight and every fight, every morning I wake up at 5:45 A.M. and I’m out the door running hills and stairs by 6 A.M. I work full time so during my lunch break I go to the gym and when I’m off work I go to practice so a normal day of practice is about 5hours.I don’t complain because I realize that in order to be great you have to put in the work it takes to get there. They have a saying in boxing that if you’re not training your opponent is and I always think of myself as that opponent. Always busy mastering my craft and claiming my victory before they come.”

Even more exciting, is that she was coming out there with a full female squad of coaches, one being the former WBC Female Welter weight champion of the world Eliza Olson from Redwood City California, who would be in her corner. With her main coach Blanca Gutierrez who owns BabyFace Boxing, and former Heavy weight world Champion Martha Salazar, one of her main mentors and sparring partners, we were able to have the best training camp a female amateur boxer could have. The special addition of the Bad Girls Boxing camp of Palm Desert California which included owner and Coach Lori Steinhorst and assistant coach Dara Villanueva who welcomed us with open arms even giving us access to a great training facility to get ready and the most hospitality any travelling team would dream of having made the trip even more special.

Miller says, “ I have to say a very special thank you to Lori Steinhorst of Bad Girls Boxing. For welcoming me with open arms, giving me gifts of wisdom and encouragement that will stay with me forever and for telling me before I touched that ring. “You’ve already won.”

The work we put Miller through, the many rounds of sparring, running and conditioning drills was incredible. You have to be an elite athlete to do some of the things she did. And in the long, run all of Millers hard work paid off. As coaches we had to sacrifice taking off work, leaving our families and running and working out in 100 degree heat to win this. It was a group effort and every one in our camp knew that Miller would have to fight her best fights against competitors with twice the experience. Miller would have to leave it all in the ring and listen to her corner to win this tournament. This was one of the best experiences for all of us and BabyFace Boxing‘s own Raquel Miller won the 152 lb open class division and brought the coveted Desert Showdown Belt home.

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