Marlen Esparza As AIBA Ambassador For 2016 World Championships



You won gold at the World Boxing Championships in Jeju two years ago at flyweight and this year you will box at light flyweight, is that a new challenge?

It has affected how I workout, so ultimately, how I prepare myself. I had to start a new diet and focus a lot more on my timing and punch placement because speed is not the key at light flyweight. My focus is different when I’m at the gym and I’m doing all I can to win another gold medal.

You are part of the AIBA Ambassadors program which aims to promote women’s boxing, why is that important to you?

Firstly, women’s boxing has grown tremendously since I began 15 years ago, and in order for us as a whole to continue our momentum, we must make sure that our names are getting bigger and our talent is getting stronger. I have been blessed to be put in a position to help keep women’s boxing in the public eye and I would love nothing more than to continue to do so for the women and young girls that follow.

What three things have made you the athlete you are today?

I would say love for my sport, the ability to keep focus when all the odds are against me, and a hard work ethic. I don’t just want to be a winner at boxing. I want to be a winner in life.

Who has inspired your career?

My family, who have loved and supported me and never told me my dreams were too big.

You are now a role model for many women in your home country, how does that feel?

I love it and appreciate it because when I was growing up and starting out in boxing I didn’t have a role model or someone to look up to.  I didn’t have anyone that I could go to for guidance in the sport and I took a lot of backlash and had to pave my own way. Now that the way is paved, it’s all about laying down the concrete and it’s an honor to be able to help other girls on the difficult journey. Boxing is a hard sport and I’m proud I can be someone’s role model.

What local charity organizations are you involved with?

I work with the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of America, the New York Athletic Club and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Who is your favorite boxer and why?

Salvador Sanchez, Chavez, and Sugar Ray Leonard.  They all have their own styles and they all did things no one else could do.  I appreciate their boxing and grew up learning from them.

What is your favorite quote?

“If no one thinks you can, then you have to.”

Team USA Athletes Spill Their Secrets

Team USA

Online, everyone can appear cool. But no one is perfect. And no one would ever willingly admit why they’re not cool — until now.

The idea to share such revealing things was the brainchild of KROQ DJ Nicole Alvarez, sister of 2014 Olympic short track speedskater Eddy Alvarez, and photographer Tamar Levine. The two wanted people to stop apologizing for who they are and start celebrating it.

In honor of that movement, we asked 15 more members of Team USA to open up about three things that make them uncool.

(You can share your three things along with your selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #WeAreAllUncool.)

Go check out our athletes Instagrams to see what their three funny facts about themselves are!  

Paralympian, Tatyana McFadden (@tatyanamcfaddenusa), Olympic Gold medalist, David Boudia (@davidboudia1), Winter Olympian, Devin Logan (@devinlogan), and Olympic Bronze medalist, Marlen Esparza (@marlen_esparza).




Marlen Esparza- Boxer


  • First Female signed to Golden Boy Promotions
  • Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Currently 10-1 professional career
  • 2021 WBC Flyweight World Title Holder
  • 2019 NABO Flyweight Champion
  • 2016 World Championships- Bronze
  • 2015 Clash Of Champions- Gold
  • 2015 Outstanding Fighter Award
  • 2015 Pan American Games- Silver
  • 2015 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2015 Colorado Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2014 Women’s World Championships- Gold
  • 2014 Pan American Olympic Festival- Gold
  • 2014 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2013 U.S. Women’s National Championship-Gold
  • Houston Fighter of the Year- 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials- Gold
  • 2012 Olympic Games, London – Bronze; First ever Olympic Bronze medalist in Women’s Boxing
  • 2011 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2010 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2009 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2008 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold
  • 2008 Pan American Games- Gold
  • 2007 U.S. Women’s National Championship-Gold
  • 2006 Women’s World Boxing Championship- Bronze
  • 2006 U.S. Women’s National Championship- Gold


Marlen was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in a family that adored the sport of boxing. Her introduction to the ring came at age 11, when she started babysitting her younger brother while he worked out at a local gym. Marlen was soon begging her father and the gym’s trainer, Rudy Silva, to let her try the sport. They were hesitant, but soon gave in under one condition: She had to behave in school. Marlen kept her end of the bargain and by her senior year she was named class President and graduated with a 4.6 GPA. Although, she had won two Women’s Boxing U.S. National Championships (2006, 2007) and captured bronze at the 2006 World Championships, Marlen was ready to quit the sport and go to Rice University, where she had been previously accepted.

All of that changed in 2009 when the International Olympic Committee announced that women’s boxing would debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Soon after this announcement, Nike, Coca-Cola, and CoverGirl signed Marlen to sponsorship deals. This was huge for Marlen because she was able to quit her job – she had been working as a dental assistant- and her focus on training became even more intense for the only title left for her to win.

Marlen went on to win the 2009, 2010, and 2011 U.S. National Championships and qualified to the Olympic Games at the World Championships in China. This would clinch her spot in history as the first ever American female boxer to ever compete in an Olympic Games.

In the debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Marlen brought home the bronze medal. Her original plan was to leave the sport after the Olympic Games, but after bringing home the bronze she realized she wasn’t quite finished with boxing.

Marlen kept her U.S. National Championship winning streak alive by taking the title in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She also took home the Gold medal at the 2014 Women’s World Championships for the first time in her career.

In 2017, Marlen turned pro, signing with Golden Boy Promotions and becoming their first ever female boxer. She dominated her pro debut in March 2017 by a unanimous decision win on ESPN and is currently 8-1 in her professional career, as her third fight was a part of the Canelo vs. GGG undercard in Las Vegas.

In January 2019, Marlen welcomed her first child, Saint Diego Figueroa.

She is passionate about creating a voice for women’s sports and inspiring young girls to go after their dreams, whatever they may be.

Twitter: @Marlen112Boxing

Instagram: @marlen_esparza

Facebook: Marlen Esparza

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