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Ava Knight Talks Career, Romanza Training, More

By Chris Robinson

Later tonight, in Toluca, Mexico, former two-time women’s champion Ava Knight will go for her third title when she faces off with WBC light flyweight champion Ibeth Zamora Silva.

Knight spent a good portion of her training camp inside of the famed Romanza Gym in Mexico City with her trainer Ben Bautista and appears to be in great spirits heading into yet another pivotal fight.

I was able to catch up with the 25-year old Knight shortly before her latest test, as we discussed several facets of her journey in life and the sport of boxing.

This is what she had to share…

Thoughts on Mexico embracing women’s boxing…
“Mexico is rich in boxing history, and the women down here are no exception to that. The women fighters in Mexico are valued for their talent and skills and are showcased regularly. Many of the promoters headline women fights and they make main events here. Mexico is a great place to fight for women because we are not ignored, we are embraced for what we do and the people love it. My experiences here have all been pretty much the same. Although I am loved here as a fighter, I am an opponent of the country. I know the people love to come see me fight, but when you are fighting in another country, there is always a part of the people who want to see their own with their hand raised.”

The experience of training inside of the Romanza Gym…
“This was the first time that I had ever been to the Romanza Gym, but I loved it. The fighters all knew who I was and everyone was so helpful. Being in a country where you don’t speak the language, it was refreshing to know that I had friends in a place that I was calling home for a few weeks. The gym is exactly what a fighter needs to become a champion; bags, a ring, and lots of talent. Nothing flashy and exciting except for the vibe and the eagerness of everyone in the gym willing to learn.”

Thoughts on her opponent, Ibeth Zamora Silva…
“She is the champion, and she wants to keep her title. She is a tough girl and she is a great champion. Only problem is, she is in the way of me winning another world title and I will not let her stop me on my journey. I respect the people and the fighters always, but come time to get in the ring, it’s all business.”

Her history and connection with trainer Ben Bautista…
“I came to Ben after a long layoff because of circumstances that had happened in my home town. He welcomed me into his gym with open arms and the gym fighters accepted me as one of their own. Since then, Ben and I have established a tight bond. We know what each other is thinking inside the ring and out. I know when I’m doing things wrong just by the look he gives, and as a fighter, I strive to be better. Since training with Ben I have become a different fighter, a better fighter, and a smarter fighter.”

Striving forward…
“What motivates me is to see all the young girls that look up to me. As a woman in boxing, there is no real monetary reward like the men for being a world champion, but I strive on to see the faces of the young girls when they watch me fight.”

An up and down journey in the sport…
“Boxing has been an up and down hill for me. Watching the lack of support and effort that goes into what I do only because I am a woman is very demotivating. I have given up my life for a sport that gives very little back to me. Unlike some women, who have established careers and taken up boxing, I became a pro right after amateur hoping to reach that dream, that goal that any fighter wants, man or woman, to become a world champion. After finding out that being a woman leaves you with very little in the sport, it makes you reconsider what you have done with your life. All in all though, I would never give it back, and I would never take back what I have done, because at the end of the day I am making history with or without the support of major promoters and networks and no one is going to stop me.”

What women’s boxing needs…
“The investment in women’s boxing is what is lacking in this country of the United States. No one is willing to take that first step to invest in a great woman that can be entertaining, respectful, and just flat out talented. Women need to be promoted as fighters, not preliminary bouts and side shows. We always steal the show, we always put the crowd on their feet, and other countries know that and that is why other countries have great champions that fight locally. Women are staying amateur because they are finding that professionals get no respect, and with no continuance of careers, there is no progression in good fighters coming from the amateurs to build a strong pool of professional women fighters in the US.”

A different kind of passion…
“I am an odd ball when it comes to boxing. I don’t watch boxing, and unless I am in the ring, I really have no particular interest. I just love to box, but my love stops there. I never grew up watching it, and I wasn’t the girl on the street fighting all the time. I just came to the gym one day as a little girl because I had nothing to do and happened to be a natural. After being in the ring, I couldn’t stop. I was addicted to it. I love the learning and the challenge. No matter how great you are there are always challenges. I am not Mayweather, but I know that to be on the top of my game I have to eat, sleep and breathe boxing, and that is what I have chosen to do.”

Cherishing the role of an idol…
“My greatest moments from the sport don’t actually come from a fight, but from the results. When I hear young girls aspiring to be like me, it makes me want to become better. When I know that girls are training hard to beat me, it shows me that I am doing something right. I love that I have become an idol in boxing at such a young age and made it to top ten without getting all those easy fights that other fighters/prospects. I took the hard road to the top and those memories are the ones I value the most.”

Outside of the ring…
“I am a huge advocate of the treatment of animals that we care for and the ones we put on our plates. I am passionate about our messed up food system in the United States from the GMO’s to all the wrong things we do that are uneconomically safe, and wasteful. I am passionate about my fitness which has guided me to a career in doing fitness competitions. I have competed in a local bodybuilding, fitness and bikini Competition and plan on doing more. I also love to cook. I am no chef, but I have my own healthy creations that come from scratch.”

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