Paving the way
Oxnard boxer Victoria Perez sets sights on 2016 Olympics
By Shane Cohn 11/08/2012
Call her the Real Deal.
The nickname comes naturally after watching Victoria Perez do her thing in the ring.
Perez, an Oxnard resident, is the No. 11 ranked amateur in the world for her weight class (178+ pounds), distinguishing Perez as the only boxer in boxing-rich Ventura County ever to hold a world ranking as an amateur.
Her fists are clenched and taped as she is about to kickoff her daily two-hour training session at Real Deal Boxing in Oxnard. When she talks about boxing, her voice is cool and collected. The stress of her 50-60-hour work weeks in the insurance industry seems nonexistent. In describing the combat sport, Perez has found the perfect metaphor for taking on life’s challenges.
“It never gets easy,” said Perez, 26. “Every day is like starting all over. Some might get discouraged by that. But it pushes you in ways you never thought you could.”
Whether she is ranked No. 1, No. 4 or No. 11, it doesn’t matter to Perez. What she wants more than anything at the moment is to fight. She wants to hit. She wants to be hit. She wants to be ready to represent the United States in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But there is just one problem. There aren’t many fighters in the area that can match up with Perez.
“Unfortunately, in her weight class, not many girls around here want anything to do with her because of her experience,” said her trainer, John Avalos, owner/operator of Real Deal Boxing.
Finding fights for Perez has always been an obstacle, said Avalos, who has trained Perez for the past eight years. They began entering tournaments abroad, where, if they were lucky, there would be a few fighters entered in Perez’s weight class.
The travel and training have paid off. Perez is a three-time USA Boxing National Champion, a four-time National PAL Boxing Champion and Golden Gloves Champion, and reigning USAB West Region Champion.
Also a member of Team USA Boxing, Perez had her sights set on fighting in the London Olympics, where women’s boxing made its debut as an Olympic sport. While Team USA shined during its debut, Perez could only watch from home. Because of a specific cap on the number of Olympians allowed in the games, the IOC decided to add a total of 36 women in three divisions out of 10 recognized divisions, with each country getting a maximum of one entrant per weight class: flyweight (between 105 and 112 pounds), lightweight (123-132 pounds), and middleweight (152-165 pounds), effectively eliminating the opportunity for Perez to compete.
“Fighting in the Olympics was the goal from the beginning,” said Perez, “but they didn’t take my weight class. Rio (2016 Olympics) hasn’t made it official yet, but they’ve been saying they’re going to open up all the weight classes. Team USA is getting back together in January. I’m going to train consistently and stay in shape until the opportunity comes up.”
As women’s boxing continues to fight for its fair share of acceptance in the international boxing world, Avalos believes that Perez has carved her place into Ventura County’s elite boxing community and lore.
“Being that women’s boxing is not totally accepted in the community, she is paving the way for everyone behind her,” said Avalos. “I’ve been with her this long and have seen the progress. She wants to make the Olympic team and represent her county, women and minority women, and we’re working together to achieve these goals.”