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'Girls can do it,' says Latina boxing champ

"I love sparring boys, actually," said Jocelyn Camarillo, who wants to inspire girls and women to take up the sport after winning her weight class at the national championships.

A Latina teen from Indio, California, wants to inspire other young women to see that it's possible to not only break into a male-dominated sport like boxing, but to excel at it.

“Girls can do it,” Jocelyn Camarillo, 17, a senior at Shadow Hills High School, told NBC Palm Springs in an interview about her recent win in the 2021 USA Boxing National Championship in the 48kg (105 pounds) weight class.

Camarillo won the championship title last month after just three years of training experience.

"I'm just really glad that I was able to come out and win and represent the Coachella Valley well," the teen said.

Camarillo, who has aspirations of a boxing career and attending college, is hoping to be an example to young women and girls who are considering participating in a sport like boxing.

"I love sparring boys actually because I like getting the reaction like, 'Oh my gosh, she's kicking that boy's butt!'" she said.

Her father and trainer, Valente Camarillo, said that he was worried when his daughter first started in the sport. But once he saw the joy it provided her, he was driven to support her.

"I was kind of scared. I was like, 'My baby's gonna go out there and compete!' But she went in there ready to fight, and she liked it," Camarillo told the NBC station. "She came out with a smile and came out with a victory, so I knew that we got something."

Jocelyn said she's always been into sports, including soccer, but wanted to try something different. "It was just an amazing feeling," she said recalling the first fight she won three years ago. "That's when I knew this is definitely for me."

Jocelyn and her father train at the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, founded and directed by Lee Espinoza, who has bolstered former boxing pros and world champions, including Pancho Segura and Sandra Yard among others, according to The Coachella Valley Independent.

The boxing club has cultivated other young Latina boxing prospects such as Gabriela Fundora and Citlalli Ortiz, who also won national titles.

"I think girls could kick ass as well as guys do, probably even better," Camarillo said in an interview uploaded to YouTube.

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