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One on One Interview with Sulem Urbina
by Mark A. Jones
April 4, 2013

(APR 4)  This week I had an opportunity to go one on one with Sulem Urbina, an amateur boxer, who currently resides and trains in Phoenix, Arizona.  Since childhood, Urbina has always been a very active female athlete, having competed for teams in basketball, cross country, and softball.  At the age of ten, Urbina discovered boxing when her two older brothers started boxing at a local gym.  [Full biography of Urbina

Mark Jones, Q: What attracted you to boxing?

Sulem Urbina, A: At first, I wanted to try boxing because my older brothers were going to the gym. Then, once I was training at the gym, I really enjoyed exercising. It was fast paced, it was challenging, and I enjoyed getting tired.

Q: What year did you begin boxing?

A: I started boxing in 2001, at the age of ten.

Q: What was it like the first time you entered a boxing ring?

A: When I first started going to the gym, the only time that boxers would get into the ring was to spar. The first time I ever set foot in the ring was also my first sparring session. It was against a little, nine-year-old boy named Benny Peterson. I was nervous because he had been boxing for a while. I remember telling myself to keep punching non-stop just to try to compete with him. He took it easy on me for the first part of our sparring round, until he saw that I wasnít getting tired. Then, he decided to become more aggressive. He threw more punches and came forward a lot more than in the beginning of the sparring session. We sparred 3 rounds, with a minute and a half for each round.

Q: How long was it until you sparred another boxer and what was your mindset before sparring for the first time?

A: I went to the gym for the first time in the summer that year. About three months later is when I had my first sparring session. I was never scared, just nervous. I was pumped and wanted to prove to my brothers that I could do this. They were there watching me fight. I was thinking about how many fights the other kid had and how much experience he had. I kept telling myself that I was going to do well. I was anxious to get in there and get the sparring session over with.

Q: What is your current amateur record?

A: 45-10

Q: Discuss your Visa issues, and how they interfered with you competing for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Also, what country have you previously represented?

A: In the past, I have represented Mexico at boxing tournaments. In 2012, I was receiving my residency in the U.S., so at the time I couldnít travel to Mexico City for the Olympic Trials. I couldnít compete in the U.S., because I wasnít a citizen yet. Due to that issue, my window to compete in 2012 Olympics in London had closed. I will become a citizen in about three years. In Mexico, the National Olympic qualifying ages were cut to include boxers that were twenty years old or younger, so I missed the required age cut by two years. Thereís one more national tournament at the end of this year, so thatís a possibility for me. If I can make it there, I can do well. If I win that, I can start competing internationally for Mexico again. If I get my U.S. citizenship in time, I can try to win my spot in the trials, and make the U.S. Olympic Team, if the team hasnít been picked already.

Q: What are your thoughts on turning professional?

A: I definitely want to turn pro someday, just not sure exactly when. When I do, I want to make a huge impact in the pro game. I want to be a world champion. I would like to be a multi-divisional champion. There are concerns about staying busy and getting fights. I donít want to sit on the shelf and Iíd like to stay busy. Hopefully the pro game will continue to improve, so that by the time I turn pro, it will be better.

Q: As a pro, what weight class would you likely compete in?

A: I would like to compete in weight classes anywhere from the Flyweight to Bantamweight classes.

Q: What is your daily training schedule like?

A: I wake up early in the morning and do my roadwork. I run around my neighborhood for 45 minutes and then I come home. I go to the gym in the afternoon and I work out 3 to 4 hours, which is generally longer than most boxers. Some days, we do a 4-mile run. Some days, we start by jumping rope, and then we move to agility drills, and then our boxing drills. Some days, we have weights. We always mix it up. We never do the same routine. Every day is different. As we get closer to fight dates, our workouts get shorter.

Q: How many days a week do you train?

A: We train Monday to Friday, and some Saturdayís we work out too.

Q: What is your major in college?

A: I am majoring in Business and Marketing. Are you close to graduating? No, Iím a freshman.

Q: What college do you currently attend?

A: I currently attend Phoenix College. I plan to transfer to ASU next year.

Mark A. Jones: Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview.

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