Sunday, January 26, 2014

Boxer Ana Laura "La Monita" Esteche comes out after winning world championship belt

Professional boxers Ana Laura "La Monita" Esteche and Yohana "Yoki" Giménez (with the pink hair). Photo used by permission courtesy of Martín Canevaro and the 100% Diversity & Rights collective.
In what observers are calling a stunning upset, professional Argentine boxer Ana Laura Esteche defeated three-time defending light welterweight World Boxing Association champion Monica Silvina Acosta when the two met in San Clemente del Tuyú on January 20th (you can watch the whole fight here).

Friends since childhood, Acosta did not wait for officials to announce the fight score and instead took her championship belt from the official who was holding it and handed it to Esteche herself in a show of respect and admiration for the woman who had just defeated her. "It's yours, take care of it, you won fairly and let God guide you," said Acosta - an evangelical preacher outside the ring - to Esteche according to ESPN.

For Esteche, better known in Argentina as "La Monita," it was her second try at the championship and her first world title. It was also the night she became the second professional boxer to ever come out while still active in the sport following the steps of Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz who came out in October of 2012.

In a ringside interview immediately following the fight, Esteche was asked if it had yet dawned on her that she was a world champion. Caught in the moment and overwhelmed by tears, Esteche began by thanking her trainers but extended those thanks to "her woman and my mother-in-law."

She also said she had gave her all during the match to demonstrate the tremendous day-to-day efforts she had put into the fight along with her trainers and "my woman."

Here is that interview after the fight and an additional interview done last week:

In that follow-up interview, which comes at the 4:16 minute mark, the sports anchor asks Esteche about those comments and, with a smile, she says the following of her partner:
Thanks to her, I wake up every morning at 6 or 5 in the morning because I am a bit weak when it comes to sleeping in and she always tells me "c'mon 'gorda', let's go, let's go because this is the time you will get it!' and later she would train with me and my physical trainer on my same level as if she had to fight four rounds and I had to fight ten.  So she would train with me and sometimes better than me because she is is great physical shape. And she would train and box with me, she is truly and excellent person.  And, to be sincere, I am very happy to have a woman like that
Photo via Ring Side
Amazingly, Esteche's partner - who you can see in the video standing behind her with her pink hair color - happens to be another WBA professional boxer who tied in a match earlier that same night:  Johanna "Yoki" Giménez.

In the video Esteche also dedicates her victory to her parents "because it has been a long time since I told them I love them."

Speaking to ESPN's Carlos Irusta, Esterche says that while she is not entirely distant from her parents they do not see each other often and says that they do not approve of her relationship to Giménez.

She also tells him they both come from such poor background that they have to make a living scavenging construction materials from building that have to be torn down in the poorest districts of Buenos Aires. "It builds muscles," Esteche jokes.

Finally, on her decision to come out, Esteche says "It's that it's something that you should not hide, after all happiness is not something you should hide, it's something to be shared and I - we - are happy."

Might update as additional details emerge.

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