When it comes to role models for sports-loving young girls, professional boxer Alicia Napoleon is certainly up there. Known as 'The Empress' she comes from New York City and from childhood has always had a huge interest in sports. An interest that has driven Alicia to become a female WBC boxing champion.
As a kid she wanted to be a professional baseball player, but at five years old she was told she couldn't be. Why? Because Alicia was a girl. This type of sexism seem to follow her around, especially as she was a sports-loving muscular girl with an athletic, solid build. In fact she notes that in fourth grade she was 120 pounds.
Being that size, which was mostly muscle, meant she was mocked by her fellow classmates who called her "thunder thighs" and "Big Al." It didn't stop her though and she also notes about playing baseball. "I was the only girl on the team. And I was the only one who hit home runs out of all those boys."
There's also a great story about when Alicia Napoleon joined the wrestling team and one boy tried to pull down her sports bra. So she kicked the crap out of him. He no doubt learned a valuable lesson that day.
When Alicia Napoleon Became A WBC Champion
She also acknowledges that the adversity she faced back then formed who she is now, without it she may not be the WBC Silver Belt champion boxer she is today. Back in January 2016 Alicia 'The Empress' Napoleon defeated Szilvia Szabados of Hungary to claim the WBC Silver Women's Middleweight Belt. The 10 rounder went the distance, ending in a unanimous decision before a packed house in Queens.
Alicia is also one of the top ticket sellers in NY, having out-sold every fighter on every NY card. She's also a business owner, teaching boxing out of her boutique gym in New York City.
Alicia's Defeat To Tori "ShoNuff" Nelson
She's also not afraid to talk about defeat either. Like her fight to defend her WBC belt against Tori "ShoNuff" Nelson in December 2016 which she says was a brutal dogfight and after ten rounds Nelson won. "It was a pain that I've never felt before," she says in this video from Allure, but vows to fight Nelson again. And beat her.
Not only does Alicia Napoleon serve as an inspiration for women and girls who want to compete, at school and beyond, in male dominated sports like women's boxing. She's also a champion of body diversity when it comes to women. "Some girls are intimidated, they don't want to get to involved in the sport [boxing] because they're scared of looking muscular or masculine," Alicia Napoleon comments. "You shouldn't be fearful of making your body strong," she goes on to say, "it's a beautiful thing and that's what we're meant to do. You're going to build up your body, it's a woman's body so how's it going to look masculine? You look strong."