IN CONVERSATION WITH ALYCIA BAUMGARDNER
Interview by Jana Letonja
Alycia Baumgardner is an American professional boxer who has held the WBC and IBO female super featherweight titles since 2021, and the WBO, IBF and The Ring female super featherweight titles since October 2022. Alycia possesses a professional record of 11-1, including seven KOs. Alycia will fight Elhem Mekhaled for all four major titles on February 4 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
Alycia, you’ve been dedicated to your craft as a boxer for over 17 years now. You were introduced to sports at the age of five and began boxing at the age of eight. What made you love boxing so much?
Boxing allowed me to be confident as a young girl and being comfortable competing at the highest level, despite being in a male dominated sport.
In November 2021 you won both the WBC and IBO super featherweight championships in an upset win over world champion Terri Harper and became unified super-featherweight world champion in October 2022 at London’s 02 Arena with a win over Mikaela Mayer. Which of these two fights was the harder one? How do you look back on both of them?
They both were a challenge in their own way. Fighting Terri was my breakout fight, coming in as the underdog and having a knockout was going to solidify my win in becoming a world champion.
Fighting Mikaela was fighting not only her but her accomplishments, her being an Olympian, and being a top-rank fighter on ESPN. Also us being both American and breaking barriers in American boxing.
Looking back on both fights, I was an evolving fighter who has always come in as the underdog, but I knew the underdog always prevails.
What were your career goals when you began a career as a professional boxer?
As a professional fighter my career goals were becoming a world champion, then undisputed and becoming a household name in the sport of boxing, being a part of a movement in women’s boxing.
Now that you hold the WBC, IBO, WBO, IBF and The Ring female super featherweight titles, what are your next goals to achieve?
Continue breaking barriers in women’s sports and being a spokesperson for women empowerment.
Since your professional debut in 2017, how have you evolved and grown as a boxer?
Boxing has allowed me to grow outside the ring. I’m always seeking growth to become a better woman and athlete.
In the boxing world, your nickname is ‘The Bomb’. Tell us more about how this nickname was born?
With my last name being Baumgardner, it only made sense.
Aside from your career inside the ring, you’ve made significant contributions as a community leader and an advocate for the underprivileged. You’ve been a helping hand for the youth in multiple cities, in roles ranging from mentoring and assisting with food drives to coaching boys and girls youth teams. Why is giving back to the community and helping the next generations so important to you?
Giving back is why we’re here. It would be selfish to keep everything to myself. The knowledge, wisdom, finances. There were people who gave me a chance and allowed me to follow my dreams, and it’s only right to do that for others.
When you’re mentoring and coaching young boys and girls, what is the most important lesson you want to teach them? What is your advice to the young generations?
My advice to the young generation is don’t give up. Your dreams and goals matter. Keep reaching them and allow yourself to work through the challenges. With success comes trials, but the reward is worth it.
You also own and operate an organic juice company called ‘Temple Raw Juices’. What made you pursue having your own business? And why in particular an organic juice company?
During Covid I had to find something new to take on and investing in my health was a priority. Taking care of our temples is crucial. I always say health is wealth.
With your next fight coming up very soon, in the beginning of February, what is your advice to yourself before you’ll be entering the ring?
My advice would remain focus. The work is never done. New levels, new devils.
How are you preparing for the upcoming fights?
Preparation is a lifestyle. We only get better from here.
Have you ever already though about what your life will look like after boxing?
Life after boxing is open for many opportunities that I can’t wait to explore.
Talent Alycia Baumgardner @alyciabaumgardner @fordmodels
Photographer Jack Waterlot @jackwaterlotstudio
Stylist Jean Chung @jeanalina
Make-up Laurel Charleston @laurelcharleston
Hair Jenny Wimmerstedt @ivainsane
Nails Mamie Onishi @nailsbymamie
Set Forest Watson @forestwatson
Editor Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Cover design Arthur Roeloffzen @arthurroeloffzen