A boxer from Curaçao Christine Francisca, 16, is looking forward to competing at the IBA Junior World Boxing Championships that takes place in Yerevan, Armenia, where the Mika Sport Arena will host the event from 23 November – 4 December 2023. She will be one of the two team members representing her country competing in the junior women’s event in the 75kg division.
Christine started her path in boxing nearly five years ago, but only after two years she realized that it was more than just a hobby for her.
‘I have two older brothers, and guys are going to be guys, they play and fight,’ she started her story. ‘One day I got so tired of always losing and not being able to compete with them that I went to my mom and said: ‘I want to be a boxer, I want to fight and don’t want to lose.’
The young girl searched for the boxing clubs and went to the one that seemed to fit her. In December, it will be the 4th anniversary of her decision to visit the gym for the very first time.
‘That is how I started. My brothers are not athletes, and I am the first boxer in my family, and I am the one who takes it very seriously. For the last two years, I have been doing my sport intensely, with a motive, and not just for fun. Of course, it is still fun but now I see competitions arriving, and I get more excited about my future in the sport,’
‘From the beginning, I have been staying in the same gym, Supreme Boxing Center in Curaçao. My coach has known me since I was 12, he has seen me grow up and develop for the sport. I am very proud to have such a good connection with my coaches and other athletes, so we can further grow in the sport. I am proud to have the support that I have right now, including from my mom who loves what I do. In the beginning, she was a bit scared, she said to be careful. But with time, my mom started seeing how much love I had for the sport. She even started taking lessons on how the score fights to understand better what I am doing in the ring. She enjoys watching me doing it and always follows my fights. I am very proud to have her as support,’ Francisca added.
She mentioned that there are a few clubs in Curaçao, and boxing has become more popular and known in the country, although, step by step.
‘Women’s boxing is very scarce though. To be very honest, I think there are 2 or 3 women who take it seriously, but beyond that, it is completely almost nothing. I hope that my performance will bring more women to the gyms. The more you shine, the more people see and think maybe they could do that as well.’
Christine has only 3 official fights in her record book, the rest were not held in the competition ring as an exhibition. At the recent AMBC Junior American Boxing Championships, she finished with a gold medal, having one fight against Yamileth Melendez from Mexico that finished when the referee stopped the contest. Her mom was with her constantly although online.
‘I performed well, although was a bit nervous at the beginning. When I got into the ring, I focused and knew that I could accomplish it, and I gave the best that I had. It was an amazing feeling, I am very proud of how far I’ve gone with the effort I put into it,’ she said, excitedly. ‘I know that Curacao has not competed a lot at the international competitions. I am very proud to represent Curaçao, especially as a woman.’
Christine sees her mission clearly at the IBA Junior World Boxing Championships in Yerevan, where she has never been yet.
‘I aim to become a champion. I do feel proud and a little bit responsible for making the sport known, for getting other people to join, to represent my country that normally doesn’t get represented in boxing. Just a little bit of pressure, not too much though,’ she added.
‘I train regularly, 5 times a week or more. The closer the tournament gets, the more we are going to focus on mental preparations. You can have everything done physically, but once you’re not good mentally, that will cause problems. That’s one of the things we practice a lot in my gym to be able to accomplish the goals. We do not have special training camps now, but we try to focus on what to improve as we don’t have enough means to be able to go to other places for training. We try to make as best as we can with what we have,’ Christine explained.
Next year she will graduate from school where economics and history are her favorite subjects.
‘I am combining my sport and studies well, trying to maintain my good grades. It’s nice that our training is mostly at night, so I have the entire day to focus on my school. When it’s done, I am going to change my focus completely onto boxing.’
Although she plans to enter a university, she will still keep trying to balance it with boxing.
‘I want to see how far I can get with my boxing career. My coach encourages me to do what I want to do. He tells me to focus on my school and pushes me to see what I can reach in the sport because he sees a lot of potential, and I am very proud of that,’ Christine claimed.
‘I know about IBA and I am very proud to have a chance of competing at the World Championships. It was surprising for me to see how tight the boxing community truly is. Wherever you go, you can see that the group is very supportive, everybody helps each other. That is something I love very much about our sport. I do feel that it is a family sometimes. You can see someone in a boxing t-shirt, and you automatically know – this person does boxing! It brings a kind of family feeling to the sport,’ she added.