Queen Underwood shifts her attention to worlds
Queen Underwood will be blogging for espnW throughout her training for this summer's London Olympics. Check back in March for more from Underwood and read her previous post.
I said I wanted to win every fight at the Olympic trials, and that's exactly what happened.
All my preparation paid off en route to winning the lightweight class at the first U.S. Olympic women's boxing trials. It was exciting and a huge relief all at once. Having my family and friends in the crowd made it extra cool. I am from Seattle, and the trials were in Spokane, Wash. I'm used to fighting with no one there, so having all those familiar faces in the crowd was great motivation. It just goes to show people are getting excited about Olympic boxing. I really want to thank them for rooting me on throughout my journey.
After I won, I was treated to a nice massage and delicious dinner. USA Boxing and Northern Quest (the resort where the trials were held) gave me a huge platter of buffalo wings -- I swear there were at least 100 wings on that platter -- and an enormous bowl of ranch dressing. I had no idea it was coming, and I was so happy!
Next are the world championships, which will take place in China from May 9-20. The top eight finishers in each class will earn a spot in the Olympics, so I am one big win away from making it to London.
I'll have a little fun first. I'm heading to New York City to appear on "Anderson" and "The View" on March 1 and 2. After that, I'll go to Colorado Springs, Colo., to begin training for worlds. I'm looking forward to getting back to training because I don't have any time to waste. I have a job to do.
Moving forward, I am going to face some really tough competition, and I can't take anything lightly. My coach, Basheer Abdullah, and I have been focused on the national competition, and now we have to shift our focus to international opponents. With international competitors, there are different fighting styles. When you fight other women from the United States, there is a large chance you have fought them before and have some video footage of them, so you know what to expect. When you go into an international fight, you don't know which opponent or country you are going to face. You often don't learn who your competition is until the day of the fight, so you have a short period of time to find a good, strategic plan.
The lack of preparation makes it more challenging, but I just have to be at my best so I can beat whoever comes along. If I am at my best, I won't have anything to worry about. I will have fun after I get that gold medal in London. After I win, then I can relax at least for one day.
Since my last post, you may have read or heard about a New York Times story that came out right before trials. In it, I talked about the abuse I went through as a kid. It was hard for me to talk about with a reporter, and I felt horrible after the interview. But it also released something deep down I did not even realize I was holding onto. I am a freer person now. I told my story to give people strength and to let them know they aren't alone. My situation shows there is hope. For anyone being abused now, say something to someone. It is an embarrassing thing, but it happens to a lot of people. You have no reason to be ashamed. Don't let it bring you down or give you low self-esteem. You cannot give up because you never know where life will take you.
I don't ever think about my abuse when I am in the ring because I don't think I would be able to fight. I started boxing because I wanted to be a champion. When I fight and hit the bag, it is to be great, to be a champion. It is not to get out anger. I am not in the ring to fight against a bad dream, I am in the ring fighting for a dream.
Boxing has changed my life in so many ways. I was a quiet person, but boxing gave me a voice. I have always had the drive to be successful, but boxing gave me confidence. Sure, boxing has made me physically stronger, but I am much stronger mentally because of the sport too. There is a lot of tough training. There are a lot of sacrifices. Everything is put on hold because of what I need to do to be successful.
But boxing is my life. See you at worlds!