MAKERS Profile

Marlen Esparza

Boxer

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Marlen Esparza on her early boxing career and how she became the first American woman to qualify for the Olympic Games in boxing.
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Marlen Esparza knew she wanted to be in the boxing ring. With the support of her father and coach - along with her hard work - Esparza has managed to make a name for herself as a female boxer. In 2012, she became the first woman to qualify for the Olympics in the first year that women’s boxing was made an official event. Of her accomplishment, Esparza has said, “It’s a big step—not really just for boxing, but for women in general.” Outside of the Olympics, Esparza has won several other competitions, including the bronze medal in the 2006 World Championship and the gold in the 2008 Pan American Games. She has also found great success nationally after winning six consecutive National Championships. When she’s not in the ring, Esparza can be found on billboards and television commercials as one of the faces of CoverGirl cosmetics.

More From Marlen

Happiness is Good
Esparza on the best advice she has ever received: do what makes you happy. 

Love for the Sport
Esparza's love for boxing drives her to be her best in competition. 

The Obstacle of Self-Doubt
She's reached the pinnacle of success for her sport, and yet Esparza must still remind herself that she can do anything. 

Confidence to Achieve
Looking back, Esparza wishes she learned her value at an earlier age.

Tough to Be Everything
Esparza discusses how the pressure to be everything is one of the biggest challenges for young girls today.

Fighting As a Reminder
Although she is often reminded of what she has given up to achieve her goal, Esparza's passion for boxing fuels her training and competitive spirit. 

A Six Day Workout
Esparza gives a breakdown on her weekly training regimen. Ranging from running to swimming, Esparza only rests on Sundays. 

Stress on the Body
As a female boxer, Esparza's greatest concern is the ongoing stress her daily workouts have on her body.

A Boxer's Self Respect
Though Esparza favors the approach of male boxers, she admits to appreciating the seriousness of retired female boxer, Lucia Rijker.

A Different Way to Fight
Esparza explains how one boxer opened her eyes to a new way of fighting.