Meet Dulce Orihuela
Fighting For Inclusion
As a teenager, Dulce Orihuela's parents encouraged her to find an activity to fill her free time. She tried everything from swimming to Zumba, but nothing ignited her passion until she tried on a set of her dad's boxing gloves.
Now as a professional boxer, the biggest fight she's up against is happening outside the ring, in the neighbourhood of Tacubaya in Mexico City. As a coach at TRASO, a gym that provides weekly boxing sessions paired with group therapy and educational workshops, she's working to combat community violence, lack of resources and marginalisation.
"If kids are in a bad mood or feeling frustrated, they can get rid of it by punching the bag or by sparring", says Dulce.
Dulce had to convince her father to let her box, and after signing up for training she was in the ring within a week. Her opponent tried to intimidate her by pushing her down at the onset of the fight.
"The girl stepped on my foot and shoved me, and when she did that, I fell flat onto the canvas", she remembers.
It was an ugly fall, but Dulce got up, shook it off and fought hard until the bell rang. When she got back to her corner, her trainer told her that she would win. The pep talk worked; she won the fight by knockout. From that point on, she gained a reputation of being one of the toughest fighters at the gym. Her work ethic was infectious, and people started to take notice.
Without realising it, [kids] exercise and have fun at the same time. They sweat a lot, but they're happy, and I like to see them pushing themselves".
"Everyone asked me if I wanted to become a trainer", Dulce says. "After mulling it over, I said 'Well, I'll give it a go'. It turned out that I really liked it".
Dulce isn't training kids at TRASO to become championship-calibre boxers, but she's giving them the tools and confidence to be champions in their own lives.
For Dulce, the fundamentals of boxing create a foundation to build character, perseverance and determination, especially in young girls.
"Men aren't the only ones who can be strong, [girls] can do the same tough jobs. We're not living in old times any more".