Nineteen year old Tania Enriquez (7-0, 4KO’S), nicknamed “La Chula”, is set to enter the ring as a professional prize fighter for the eighth time this Friday, April 8th. She will be defending her undefeated record against Mary Gastelum (4-1-1, 2KO’S) at Billar El Perro Salado in Tijuana, Mexico.
“She is the one with a talent,” said her sister, 22-year-old Kenia Enriquez who is scheduled to perform at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles on April 23rd.
Their father, Gustavo Enriquez got them into boxing from young age.
“He was the former boxer,” said Tania when I interviewed her over the phone several weeks ago: “We would go to the gym with him and we would start doing little things here and there and when it got serious he took over the training and showed us the finer things in the sport.”
Tania and Kenia train together and help each other to get ready for fights at the Box Latino gym in Tijuana. “I try to correct mistakes of my sister,” said Tania. “And she corrects my mistakes.”
Father Gustavo Enriquez is in charge of the family business and training of both girls.
Tania began her professional career at the age of sixteen and breezed through opponents until her 5th pro fight against the experienced Selene Lopez in 2015.
“My eye got cut and swollen,” said Tania who earned a unanimous decision victory that night but worried about the facial damage. “At first I thought it was bad, but in a couple of weeks it was gone and I was fine with it.”
Fine with it?
I had to ask the lovely young lady again how she feels about getting hit in the face for a living.
“It’s my choice,” said Tania who has her hair braided when she goes for battle inside the squared circle. “It’s what I decided to do.”
Being a female prize fighter in a macho dominated society is a challenge. It seems like nineteen year old Tania has accepted what comes with her unusual career choice. But what about her social life?
“Boys are intimidated to ask me out,” said Tania:” They think I am going to hit them or something like that.”
Tania Enriquez and the Future
The three year veteran of the pro ranks, who considers Mexican ring great Jackie Nava her idol, said she would love to compete at the next Olympic games if the World Olympic committee approves participation of professional boxers. Her sister Kenia would love to participate as well. They are in the same weight class. There could be a time when they have to face each other.
“No, I would never face my sister,” said Tania who is concentrating on her goals as a professional for now.
“My main goal is to become a world champion,” Tania said:” And to have a long lasting career with my sister and to make history.”
Could this be the female version of the Marquez brothers? Only time will tell. For now Tania has her eyes on the prize.
“You have to concentrate on what you are doing,” she said:” And everything else that is going on around you doesn’t make a big difference when you are focused on what you have to do.”
Photo by Carlos Angel