Sandra Tovar trains six days a week, three times a day, and has her eye on winning an Olympic gold medal. At 17 years old, she’s the nation’s number one boxer in her weight class, and she’s training alongside other young women in Fresno, California, who are serious contenders in what was once considered solely a men’s sport. Since 2017, four women from California’s Central Valley have finished first or second at the junior Olympics. The secret to their success in the ring? These young female athletes have strength, determination and the support of a community that raises funds so they can compete on a national level.






The Teenage Women changing the Face of Boxing


  • opponent – the person that you compete or play against in a competition
  • beast – savage nature or characteristics; a wild animal
  • to be ranked number one – to be the best
  • tournament – a series of games or contestst may not be true or useful any longer
  • jab – a quick, sharp blow, especially with the fist
  • to stand out – to be much better than other similar things or people
  • obstacle – anything that makes it difficult for you to do something
  • strong-willed – one who doesn’t give up easily



Discuss in pairs, small groups, or with your teacher:

  • How would you feel if your daughter took up boxing?
  • How can sport help children from poor families?
  • Physical education at school should be optional.
  • How about you? What sport(s) do you play/ have you tried? Were you good at it/them? Would you like to improve your skills?
  • Would you like to play sport for a living?
  • Is there any sport you don`t mind watching on TV?
  • John Wooden said: “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” Do you agree?

Practice Makes Perfect

Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with the words in bold in the correct form.


tournament                      ranked                                 strong-willed                                   

jab                         obstacle                              opponent                         stand out

  1. He’s very ………. ……….. and if he’s decided to drop out of school, nothing will stop him.
  2. I gave her a sharp ……… in the ribs with the elbow to stop her from saying any more.
  3. This tennis ……….. is open to both professionals and amateurs.
  4. The athlete is so muscular and tall that he ……..  …….. in a crowd.
  5. Andy Murray’s biggest …………. at Wimbledon was Roger Federer, but he managed to beat him.
  6. He ………. number one in five out of the six categories.
  7. Competing professionally is expensive, which is a major ………… for many boxers in the Central Valley.


ANSWERS: 1. strong-willed; 2. jab; 3. tournament; 4. stands out; 5. opponent; 6. ranked; 7. obstacle


Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!

3 Tips for Succeeding in a Male-Dominated Field, From One of the NFL’s Only Woman Coaches

Take the ball and run with it. All the way.



3 tips for succeeding in a male dominated field