Stacia Suttles at Mendez Boxing gym

Meet Stacia Suttles from Bronx, New York. Stacia is an elite amateur boxer and currently a member of Team USA for boxing. Stacia ranked #3 at 132 lbs in the United States and #3 at 141 lbs in North & South America. She’s a 2016 New York Daily News Golden Gloves champion, 2016 USA National champion, 2017 USA National Bronze medalist and 2x International Medalist.

By Oxana Klokovskaya

How she started boxing

I started boxing 4 years ago just because I came from my freshman year of college and wasn’t doing anything except for working. I’ve been in sports my whole life: basketball, karate, taekwondo. Sports was something that grounded me and I wanted to try something new and fun so I decided to start boxing.

The first year I was going with the flow, and everyone was telling me I should enter the National Golden Gloves competition so I did, I ended up making it all the way to the finals. I wasn’t nervous until I stepped down into the Barclays center and then I realized where I was and it was like, “wow”. And then I just kept going.

Challenges she had to face in her boxing career

The biggest challenge in my boxing career so far was when I decided to go back to school. I was studying, working and training for my second Golden Gloves championship and that was really hard. There were times when I was just tired I didn’t want to go train, I just wanted to sleep. But I really wanted to win the Golden Gloves, I wanted that necklace around my neck and I thought to myself, “my opponents can be working hard, so I have to work harder” and that is what motivated me to stay in the gym.

Now my biggest motivation is other amateur fighters and women in general because I get messages from people all over the world saying I motivate them, that’s crazy! I want to keep motivating other people to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish.

How people have misconceptions about women doing martial arts

I think a lot of people have this misconception about martial arts, they think that as soon as you start doing it you have to fight or you are going to grow all these big muscles and that’s not true. When I first started boxing I was only doing it once or twice per week and I gradually loved it so I started doing more. I think it’s a great sport and a full body workout.

A year before I started boxing I was a college student and I was all over the place, boxing made me more grounded, I started making goals for myself. When I first started, I didn’t think my goal would be to make it to the Olympics but here I am. My biggest goal is to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal for this country.

How her dad is her biggest fan and supporter

My dad came with me to the USA Boxing National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah in late 2017. My dad is my #1 supporter. I can decide to start rock climbing tomorrow and he’ll be on board from the beginning! So when I started boxing it was no different. Of course he’s my dad so doesn’t want me getting hit but he sees that I love it and is there to support me along the way. He even got a coaches book so he can help in my corner if another coach is needed.