Local teen will compete for national boxing championship - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Local teen will compete for national boxing championship

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

In a dimly lit, gritty basement in downtown Spokane, a half-a-dozen bags sway back-and-forth from the ceiling.

The red, white, and blue ropes that are guided around four poles take the shape of a square.

Standing inside the ring is 17-year-old, Dessie Waggener. Across from her is the number one ranked 152 lb. male youth boxer in the country: Israel Alvarez.

Waggener takes a few perfectly timed jabs to her protected head. She fires back!

After a round of sparring, the Cheney High School senior ducks under the ropes and sits out the next round.

“I like to use the left hook,” said Waggener. “But I’d say my strength is my right hand.”

Waggener is one of three teens from Spokane who is preparing for 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championships in Chattanooga, TN this weekend.

“They [family] think I’m crazy,” said Waggener. “They think I’m absolutely insane, out of my mind.”

This will be Waggener’s second national tournament in four months. More remarkably, she picked up boxing just 18-months ago after her next-door neighbor approached her.

“It was actually my coach,” said Waggener. “He’d been egging me on and was like ‘come down to the gym one day.’ So I finally came down and fell in love with it.”

For much of Waggener’s young life, she’s had to prove people wrong. Boxing is no exception.

“I know when I first started all the guys at school were like ‘oh you’re not going anywhere with this, you’re not a boxer, good luck with that.’” Said Waggener. “Proving them wrong is my biggest feat in this whole thing. Even though I am a girl, I’m actually pretty good at it and I can do it and I can go places with it whether you tell me I can or not.”

After taking 4th place in June, Waggener is ready to write the next chapter of her underdog story.

“I’m taking the gold home,” said Waggener. “I want to go to the 2024 Olympics. That’s my long-term goal.”

Waggener will compete in the 125 lb. Youth Women division this weekend. She will be joined by her teammates, Israel Alvarez (152 lb. Youth Male), and Patrick Cody (101 lb. Junior Male).

You can follow their progress by clicking on this link.

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