Queen Underwood, from Seattle, is one of the women competing to box for the gold in London this summer (Photo: SWX)
SPOKANE, Wash. -
For the first time ever, women's boxing will be a part of the Olympic Games. And the road to London goes through the Spokane area when the U.S. Olympic team trials take place at Northern Quest Resort & Casino on Monday.
Twenty-four boxers will compete for a chance to box for the gold later this summer. The competition begins with a draw on Sunday, with each of the four non-seeded boxers pulling a numbered ping pong ball to determine whom they will face in the opening round on Monday.
One of the favorites to bring home the gold is the queen herself, Queen Underwood. A graduate of Garfield High in Seattle, the 27-year-old boxer is the reigning World Championships bronze medalist.
Below is the transcript of a 6 Questions interview KHQ's Dan Kleckner conducted with Underwood:
Dan Kleckner: Queen, there's no question you're breaking down barriers - gender barriers
Dan Kleckner: With that comes a sense of responsibility. Do you feel that you need to showcase your sport, Women's Boxing, in a positive light?
Queen: I kind a feel like I'm paving the way for younger people - younger women, to be involved in the sport of boxing. You see a lot of younger people, 15-years-old, and that's good.
Dan Kleckner: You started when you were 19. You grew up as an athlete - track and basketball. Why take it up? What was it about boxing that you found interesting?
Queen: I took it up because around that time of my life. Leaving from high school, not really finding what to do, I picked it up because I was always into sports and I missed that. So, being able to go to a gym and find a sport where I can create my own destiny and be in charge and in control of life and how I wanted things to go, putting in dedication and hard work. It really benefited well for me.
Dan Kleckner: Queen, when you go inside the ropes is there a sense of comfort in a way, in a strange way, a violent sport and yet it's your sport.
Queen: It's definitely something I'm used to., definitely something that I trained to do, to get inside the ropes, to get in front of an opponent. I'm there to show everybody what I train for. It's like a celebration!
Dan Kleckner: But you know you belong inside these ropes.
Dan Kleckner: How long did it take to get that comfort level?
Queen: It's a rough road. You start off you're very nervous at first. You build a lot of self-confidence, self-esteem in the sport of boxing. Getting that absolute comfortable feeling. It's hard to really know what goes through my head at times when I go through the ropes. My only focus is to go inside the ropes and get a win.
Dan Kleckner: Take me down memory lane here. Take be back to that first competitive bout. What was going inside that brain of yours?
Queen: I lost. That's the worst feeling ever. I told myself I don't want to feel that way again. So ever since 2007 I've been a champion.
Dan Kleckner: How are you a better person today, than 2007? Not a better boxer, but how are you a better person?
Queen: I feel like I can talk to people, help people, not just focus on myself but be in a position to one day give back to females, kids. I don't want to just think about myself and where I'm headed but I want to think about why I'm headed there and what I want to do after I get there.
Dan Kleckner: Queen, when you look around this facility you see some young folks watching and listening to you. What type of role model do you want to be for them?
Queen: Someone they can look up to and say that she worked hard, she didn't give up, she kept fighting even when times were tough. She made sacrifices, someone possibly they could talk to and open up to. I want people to feel they can have a dream and live out their dream too.
Dan Kleckner: I know that you have put up the gloves with regards to your childhood. I respect that. You talked about a dream that you had, a dream that you want to fulfill to overcome some of those obstacles. How are you not letting your past define you as a person?
Queen: You know, I don't think about what happened in my past. I'm thinking about my future. I'm a survivor of my past and I'm here to tell my story and share my story with people so they can be strong for themselves.
Dan Kleckner: Does your past drive you inside the ring?
Queen: You know, I'm over it. What drives me is that Gold Medal!
Monday, February 18 2013 5:01 PM EST2013-02-18 22:01:04 GMT
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