The women’s boxing movement gets another big boost, as Phoenix, Arizona resident
and Mexican amateur boxing standout, 5'4" Sulem Urbina, 112, and 45-10 as
an amateur, has emerged to help increase the young star power building in the
sport. Born on July 8, 1990, in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Urbina was raised in
a modest home with both of her parents, and is the middle child, with two older
brothers and two younger brothers. At age four, she relocated with her family to
the United States. She is proudly fluent in both English and Spanish. 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. She wanted her brothers to
include her, however they weren’t comfortable with their little sister sparring
and training with them. Her father eventually instructed her brothers to allow
her to accompany them. She began boxing at just 75 lbs, and seemed to enjoy the
sparring sessions and competition.
Unlike her father, her mother didn’t approve of her continued participation in
the sport. Soon after she started boxing, her mother forbid her from continuing
with the sport and influenced her to quit. With boxing out of the picture, she
decided to focus on her schoolwork. Nearing the end of her junior year of high
school, Urbina realized how much she had missed boxing. She again begged her
mother to allow her join a boxing gym, and was eventually given permission. At
seventeen years old, Urbina resumed her boxing activities.
In March 2007, she started attending Knockout
Boxing Club in Phoenix, Arizona, co-founded by Urbina, along with her current
trainer and husband, Andrews Soto. Andrews Soto began coaching boxing when his
brother’s friend, who was also a boxer, had passed away from a head injury. When
the friend passed, he left Soto’s brother with enough boxing equipment to fill a
gym, via a will. Andrews Soto, received the items from his brother, and decided
he would give back to the community by opening up a boxing gym. Soto’s athletic
resume included playing basketball and a brief, but successful amateur boxing
career. He found his calling in coaching boxing and began to have success in
coaching his Arizona travel teams.
Urbina initially sought out Soto, because his boxers had reputations of winning
in boxing shows across Arizona. When they met, Soto tested her commitment to the
sport, by putting her through a rigorous training routine to see if she would
return. She continued to train under Soto, and they formed a bond based on their
dedication and love for the sport of boxing. After marrying Soto, Urbina
continued to train at the gym, and her hard work, coupled with Soto’s training,
helped elevate her to compete internationally.
Urbina’s amateur boxing record is 45-10, including national and international
competition. In 2007 and 2009, she was the Golden Gloves Champion in Arizona. In
2009, she placed third at the U.S. National Golden Gloves tournament. She has
travelled all across the U.S. to compete in tournaments, including trips to
Florida, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, and California. She has competed
internationally in Brazil and Mexico. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Since October 2010, Urbina has trained in the gym consistently. Visa issues
prohibited her from participating in the 2012 Olympic games, but were recently
resolved. In addition to boxing, Urbina has continued her education, and
currently attends college classes. When her amateur career has concluded, Urbina
plans on bringing excitement to women’s boxing as a professional. Her goals
include fighting on television, becoming a world champion, and increasing the
opportunity and equality for women in the sport that follow after her.
Urbina is presently weighing the decision whether to stay an amateur in order to
compete in the 2016 Olympic Games, or turn professional. She competes anywhere
from 110-122 lbs.
Friday, 06 November 2015