*since the time of writing Andrea Medina unfortunately missed out on USA Boxing’s Olympic squad through the new ranking system
In our ongoing ‘Road to the Olympics’ series, BOXRAW speak with some of the most promising Olympic hopefuls on their own paths towards the Games. Next up, USA Boxing’s bantamweight talent Andrea Medina opens up about her career goals and boxing lifestyle.
Fighter Fact File
Full name: Andrea Selma Medina
DOB: July 24, 1999
Hometown: Chula Vista, California
Walk out song: Drake - Nonstop
Favourite fighter: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Favourite/best fight: Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward. All their fights.
Fantasy match-up: Mayweather vs. Canelo 2. I think Mayweather would beat him the same way he did the first time even when Canelo is in his prime.
Cheat meal: Pizza, wings and ice cream
Hobby outside of boxing: Dancing and Cooking
Dream place to fight: MGM Grand or Madison Square Garden
Favourite punch: Body shot or left hook
Best thing about training: It is very therapeutic and it is my happy place.
Becoming ‘The Boss’
"I like to be the leader and in control of everything that I do," outlines USA Boxing’s Olympic hopeful Andrea Medina, as she explains the origin of her long-standing nickname ‘The Boss’.
"As a kid, my family would always tell me that I am bossy towards my siblings or cousins. One day my uncle told me that my nickname should be ‘The Boss’ and ever since then it stuck. So the name really does fit me."
Medina may have been given her moniker from when she was a little girl but, over the course of her glittering amateur career, the American talent has proved why it’s a perfect fit for her in the ring too.
Since first becoming involved with boxing at just five years of age, there was no looking back for the now 21-year-old.
"My parents wanted to put me in karate but there was a boxing gym right next door and that caught my eye more," says Medina. "Ever since then, I have done nothing but box. I have never played or done another sport."
In such a tough sport, family connections are vital for Medina. It’s this close relationship that has benefited her along a path to early amateur success; helped further by her career being closely guided by her father and trainer - Juan Medina Jr.
"Having my father as my coach is definitely a blessing because he knows me more than any other coach," states Medina. "He knows my flaws, weaknesses and strengths and our connection through boxing is very strong.
"It is a huge benefit to have my family close to me at all times with my career because the support helps me get through tough situations. Without my family, I would not be where I am today."
The Path To Tokyo
Medina has continued to develop and grow into an emphatic fighter, showcasing her skills across the biggest international stages in recent years (including the Junior Olympics) and setting herself up for a charge at the most prestigious prize on offer - an Olympic medal.
"Every single medal that I have earned I am proud of because I put my all into training and into boxing itself," she explains proudly, looking back at recent competition successes.
"Competing internationally and earning medals there was very exciting because those were tournaments that I had to learn how to adjust to so many different styles. All tournaments were beneficial to my career because in every single bout I learn something different and gain more experience."
With that previous ring experience gained, Medina’s immediate focus is now on realising her dream of becoming Olympic champion; a feat she’s confident of achieving despite the expectations on her young shoulders.
"I feel very confident, especially because I had an extra year to prepare due to the pandemic. With that extra year, I worked on a lot of things with USA Boxing coaches and with my father as well.
"I have also learned a lot by going to international tournaments and getting that experience. With the Olympic Games being the biggest stage of my life so far, I am very excited and ready to show the world my skills and all the hard work I have put in since I started boxing."
With national hopes already on her ahead of the biggest amateur event of the summer, how does she manage to deal with the pressure?
"I just trust my sacrifices, dedication, focus and hard work," Medina outlines with a confident nod. "I remind myself that I have gotten this far for a reason and I only have to prove to myself and not anyone else. Of course, there is a lot of pressure but it is a good thing because it pushes me to be a better version of myself, in and out of the ring."
Battling Through The Pandemic
The global pandemic caused chaos to the amateur boxing schedule, seeing the Olympics postponed from its initial July 2020 date to this upcoming summer.
Medina, like her USA Boxing teammates and other elite amateur stars worldwide, were forced to adapt to the unprecedented events. She remained positive, though, maintaining her drive throughout the process.
"This pandemic has led to having to be amateur for an extra year. I do not think it was a bad thing," she admits. "Because I got to experience travelling to different countries and competing with people internationally.
"Although, it backed up my plans to turn professional. Fortunately, my father owns the gym that I train at so I was able to train with him and have a place to train throughout the lockdowns."
Being a fighter with a fan-friendly style, Medina will be hit by the fact crowds will not be permitted at the Games this year. But will this have an affect on her during her pursuit of medal glory?
"I definitely think it is going to be a big game changer compared to other Olympic Games because crowds can be a big factor in performance," she states, looking ahead to a crowd-less event in Japan.
"I do not think it will have a big effect on me because I have been competing through this pandemic with no crowds allowed, so I have kind of gotten used to it. I feel like it depends on the person and how much they are used to fighting in front of crowds."
As are the dangers and potential pitfalls that come with a career of prize-fighting, boxers are often encouraged to prepare themselves in other walks of life outside of the ring; something that Medina has long been undertaking anyway.
"I am currently studying Criminal Justice at San Diego State University. It was difficult at first because balancing both college education and boxing was very hard, especially because of the time management.
"Now that I have gotten used to managing my time wisely, it is easier for me to get school work done and train hard for competition."
While balancing her studying full-time, Medina’s true passion is still boxing and it’s within the ring ropes that she envisions her future; with the aim of joining her idols in a booming era for the women’s game.
"I am very excited to be a part of the next generation of women’s boxing, especially because it is coming up very fast.
"I plan on turning professional right after the Olympics. I want to win world titles at the professional level after this opportunity at the Games.
"I am very inspired by Mikaela Mayer because she did and is doing exactly what I want to do - that is going to the Olympics and then eventually turn professional and win world titles. I look up to her because she is leading the pathway for women's boxing in the professional aspect."
With her overall career goals firmly fixed on her mind and, already possessing the right attitude in relentlessly working towards them, Medina has all the attributes to become a stand-out addition to the women’s boxing scene in the coming years.
For now, as ‘The Boss’, she continues to demonstrate that she’s in charge along her road to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
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Header video: @andreathebossmedina