Amateur Champion to Appear on August 4 Boxing Card
Tyrieshia Douglas is already a part of history. But for her, that's still not enough. Before the final bell rings on her career, the fighter plans to etch her name in the annals of boxing history. It sounds like a tall order, but given her battle-tested boxing background, she's well equipped for the task at hand.
Douglas, 23, hopes to inch one step closer to reaching her goal as she makes her professional boxing debut on Saturday, August 4, at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Northwest.
"Boxing is my mother and my father. Boxing is my brother and my sister," she said during an interview on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. "... Honestly, boxing is the love of my life."
Douglas, a Washington native, spent years in the foster care system and developed an affinity for the sweet science after an altercation in high school. A schoolyard fight put then-16-year-old Douglas in front of a judge who recommended she pursue boxing as an outlet. The sport soon became her salvation.
Under the guidance of coach Calvin Ford, Douglas trains at Baltimore's Upton Boxing Gym. Since 2010, she has quickly become known as one of the nation's elite female amateur fighters. Ford recognized something special about her from the first moment she stepped into his gym.
"She's different from most of the boxers in the gym," he said. "She is very precise. She does everything to the letter."
Earlier this year, Douglas started a historical journey that began with being selected to participate in the first-ever U.S. Women's Olympic Boxing Trials in Spokane, Wash. The accomplishment took on added significance because Douglas's brother, Antoine, 19, participated in the Men's Olympic Boxing Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., making the Douglas siblings the first sister-brother duo to participate in the U.S. Boxing Trials.
And although she didn't make the U.S. Olympic Team as a flyweight [112 pounds], she still cherishes the unique experience.
"I had fun," Douglas recalled. "I was a part of history. It's amazing that women are able to do something equal to men. That is what's great about this."
Douglas said she wants to be recognized on the pro level with goals that extend beyond winning titles.
"I want to be the first female boxer on HBO," she said with a smile. "Showtime has had female boxers on TV but HBO has not. I want to be the first." Well-known female boxers like Laila Ali and Christy Martin have appeared on Showtime in the past with a large viewership.
"I also want to open people's eyes to women's boxing," said Douglas who now lives in Charm City. "I want to show people that we deserve the same opportunities."
Cassandra White, head promoter of Babie Girl Promotions, said that she's pleased to give Douglas an opportunity to turn pro.
"I was impressed with Tyrieshia when I saw her at the Olympic Trials. I saw what kind of talent she had," said White, 47. "I am proud to work with her as her promoter."
Coincidentally, Douglas has the ring nickname of "Baby Girl."
While Douglas's August 4 debut coincides with the Women's Olympic Boxing tournament in London, she will still cheer for someone very special in that tournament – her former rival Marlen Esparza of Houston, who defeated her during the trials.
"I'm really hoping Marlen does well," Douglas said. "I'm looking forward to challenging her when she turns pro. I think it will be a great rivalry."
Ford expects great things to come from his boxer.
"Tyrieshia is strong and she will become a household name in the pros as she was in the amateurs."