Molly McConnell is ranked as one of the top boxers in the world. She has won more titles, belts and honors than any other Oregon boxer in the past 20 years.
“I believe it goes back (more) than twenty years” she tells ‘Portland’s Afternoon News.’ “When you add the amateur and professional stuff together, I believe I’m the most decorated fighter in the state of Oregon.”
McConnell grew up in Seattle and was trying to lose some weight after college, when she spotted a sign in a gym window that said ‘women’s boxing class.’
“I thought that sounded interesting.” So McConnell took a few lessons, and knew almost immediately she was hooked. “People involved in boxing will tell you that it chose them, rather than the other way around, and that’s how I felt about it.”
By 2004 she turned pro. And in 2010, she achieved her goal of becoming a professional World Champion, the ‘crown jewel’ of boxing, but it didn’t come easy.
“I don’t think people realize how difficult it is, not only to learn the proper technique and foot work, and all that kind of thing, but the kind of shape, both physical and mental you have to be in.”
McConnell has now retired from the professional boxing. Earlier this year, she opened a gym in a former dance studio in Northeast Portland. Bags hang from the ceiling, and there’s a ring in the far corner, where students spar and learn about what McConnell calls “The best sport in the world.”
McConnell doesn’t have many regrets about her career, except maybe one. “Not going to the Olympics.” For most of the 20th century, the sport was banned by most countries. But then in 2009, it was given the green light by the Olympic Committee for the 2012 games in London. By then, Molly had retired from professional women’s boxing, and had missed her chance.
But she doesn’t dwell on that lost opportunity. “I feel very fortunate that I’m someone that gets to do something they really love every day.The sport of boxing is something I’ve always been in love with. I feel very fortunate I’m one of these people who gets to do something they love everyday.”
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