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Professional boxer speaks at Saint Mary’s

Julia Harris | Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Professional boxer and championship title winner Eva Jones-Young said she wanted a fresh start when she entered the boxing ring at the age of 32 following a successful international martial arts and karate career.

“I needed a new challenge,” Jones-Young said, “But as soon as I started boxing, people were saying that women shouldn’t be boxers.”

Jones-Young, who was raised in South Bend, visited Saint Mary’s College Monday to speak about her experience as a professional female athlete, mother and small business owner.

The Cross Currents Program, the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership and the Department of Anthropology cosponsored “Inside the Ropes with Eva Jones-Young,” which was held in Spes Unica Hall.

Jones-Young said despite the criticism, she was able to win three world championship titles, two within the first six rounds.

“I was told that I would never play in a championship because I wasn’t blonde hair, blue eyed,” she said. “But I thought to myself, I’m gonna keep fighting until I do.”

In addition to a full-time boxing career requiring five to six hours of daily intensive training, Jones-Young said she was able to spend time with her daughter. She said she also created a small business washing windows for households, grocery stores and buildings in the South Bend area.

“I would be standing on 40 foot ladders with five gallon buckets of water and 140-pound motors,” Jones-Young said. “Nobody once told me that women shouldn’t be doing that.”

Jones-Young, whose fights have been featured on ESPN and pay-per view, brought her three world championship belts and boxing gloves for students to try on. She said competition and practice was something she always enjoyed.

“I trained a lot, and I mean a lot. There were lots of sit-ups, push-ups, running and drills. I never got scared or nervous,” Jones-Young said. “I always had fun.”

Jones-Young said Saint Mary’s students can attain success if they have faith in themselves.

“As women, we can do anything we put our mind to,” Jones-Young said, “I’m a firm believer in that.”