Title: Alexis Lavarine – The Lily of Louisiana
Contributor: Margherita Valentini

” Boxing has been around for over a thousand years and there are more fighters than years in the history books.”

The 2016 Olympics was a great year for boxing. It was even better for Team USA. Clarissa Shields became the only boxer in history from the United States to win back to back Gold medals in any Olympics and her teammate World Champion Mikaela “Born on the 4th. of July” Mayer held a great account of herself as well.

Women’s boxing has come a long way from its early beginnings as a fringe attraction at it’s best to a well respected and well represented sport in the Olympics.

All the athletes that have kept the sport thriving and growing all these years are no doubt the reason why.

When was the last time you asked a second grader what she wanted to be when she grew up and she told you she wanted to be a boxer? Well, that’s what Alexis Lavarine told her father after watching a boxing match on T.V. The rest is going to be history.

Already a holder of nine championship belts, Louisiana’s “Golden Girl” is a 3x Ringside World Champion and 6x Title National Champion. She trains 5-6 days a week, three times a day and travels to gyms as far as Mississippi to get sparring. Meeting Clarissa Shields at the World Championships a few years ago was the highlight of her career, “we spent some time together, she’s a very nice person, and she gave me some tips on making an Olympic run.” Her favorite fighter? Floyd Mayweather. She says her best punch is her jab, and she likes to move around the ring slipping punches. Smart girl.

Her father David is always with her, in her corner and by her side, whether on a road trip to the next tournament or to the next gym. Her mother Carla prepares her mentally by praying with Alexis before her matches.

This is a tough schedule for anyone never mind a young girl in the 8th grade. Her parents are both teachers and balance out their work week between three other kids and their daughter’s Olympic dream.

However, there are always obstacles and there is always life.  News of the recent flooding in Louisiana has been heartbreaking. People have lost their homes and some have lost loved ones. Struggling to get their lives back to some kind of normalcy, the Lavarine’s are no exception.

Disasters like this have a way of bringing people together that otherwise wouldn’t even know each other. All the people of Louisiana have been dealing with the day to day tragedies and consequences of this horrific event. But there is always Hope and sometimes you find it in the face of a young girl with a dream. An American dream.  Alexis Lavarine could be just what Louisiana needs right now. The promise of new beginnings, the promise that so many people have sacrificed so much to find. Her goal is a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic games and that could very well become a reality for this young pugilist.

She is determined and has the relentless will of a fighter in the face of adversity. Look for Alexis in 2020, she is a force of nature.

– Margherita ‘Rita’ Valentini

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