I had an amazing shoot for my @fem_forwardproject with Jennie @kungfujenda! When she told me her inspiring story and her road to kickboxing we both agreed shooting her on the pitchers mound was perfect! A former junior Olympic pitcher now Pro Kickboxer! She's so inspiring and a beautiful person. Thrilled that I know her!!!!!! Can't wait to see her fight July 14th in #madisonsquaregarden . Here is her journey:
Growing up I was always the son my father never had. But it also made me the champion I am today.
I was a pitcher on the high school team in Junior High and made my first Junior Olympic team at age 15. We traveled all over competing. Looking back, I could have made a run for the Olympics but I was also at the age where I thought I knew it all. Playing with the older girls I also thought I was on the same maturity level however that was not the case. I chose the wrong path and missed out on numerous opportunities and watched my talent waste away.
I was 16 years old working in a bar until all hours of the night and one night got into a bad car accident. One hundred and seventy five stiches to my forehead later, I knew it was time to grow up. It’s funny how all those “friends” that were there to party, weren’t there to pick my pieces up but my family was.
I decided to go back to college, play ball and turn my ways and life around. I also started to kickbox to lose weight. My dad was all for it and of course started to workout with me too. I was learning the basics when Louis Neglia called the gym I was training at looking for a female fighter to fill a spot on a fight card. I said hey why not. The only problem was that I had to lose 25 lbs and get skills together in a 3 week period before the scheduled fight. I lost the weight and had my first victory! It was the most horrendous fight to watch but I accomplished it none the less.
Later that night (gloves still on) I was already propositioned with another fight just a few weeks later. As exhausted as I was, I accepted. My second fight was against the current champion that they couldn’t find an opponent for. I lost a close decision but my skillset started to develop. I remember that night, my father came to me and said, if you want to do this, let’s do it the right way. Let’s get you to that softball level status in the kickboxing world. I knew with my dad helping me that I could reach my goals.
That was July 2001 and come September 11th, my life had changed forever. My father had just got a promotion and started to work in the World Trade Center. When the first plane hit, my dad spoke to my mom. They told him to remain where they were and the tower 2 seemed secure. My dad saw people jumping from his 92nd floor. He old my mom he loved her and the phone hung up. That was the last we heard of my dad.
Years later we were told he was last seen carrying an elderly employee on his back. Other coworkers saw him on the 77th floor carrying that man. The ones that passed him carrying that man, made it out, my dad did not.
I took off a few years and wallowed in self-pity. I did stupid things and made poor choices. I was a daddy’s girl and he was gone. I needed him but I needed to get back to me for him. I was offered to fight on a paper view event for 9/11 and saw that as my sign to return. I vowed to fight the way my dad fought until his last breathe. I held several amateur champion titles with a record of 26-4-1. I turned pro in 2014 and my current pro record is 9-2 with two professional title belts.
September 9, 2016, , 2 days before the 15 year anniversary of losing my dad, I fought on the undercard of GLORY 33. GLORY Kickboxing is the highest level a kickboxer can reach in their professional career. I make my return to GLORY Kickboxing July 14th at Madison Square Garden. I had always dreamed of fighting for GLORY. Now to be able to step thru those ropes again at the mecca of fighting in the garden, it is surreal. Just proof that anything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it!
#RoadtoGlory #BattleScarManagement #LouisNeglia #RayLongo#LAWMMA #Glorykickboxing