Fifteen-year-old heavyweight female boxer excels in Connecticut Junior Olympics box-off

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Tue., Apr. 17, 2012
Junior Olympic hopeful Miguel Maleonado gets taped up for the match. Photos by Felicia Whatley.
Junior Olympic hopeful Miguel Maleonado gets taped up for the match. Photos by Felicia Whatley.

Charter Oak Boxing Academy's female, 15-year-old heavyweight boxer Quianna Asmith won all of her matches at the Connecticut Junior Olympic Boxing Championships' Box-offs on April 14 at Nomads Adventure Quest in South Windsor, and will be heading to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the regionals. With a record of 5-0 this year and the support of her family and coach Johnny Callas, Asmith has been boxing for three years. She was a walkover champion.

“Quianna is one of the best boxers I have worked with,” said Callas, who is a 17-year world championship professional boxing referee with a masters degree in social work and an interest in the social well-being of his boxers, as well as their physical development. “She is a hard-working lady, always determined and in shape. She has the best mindset for boxing,” said Callas.

Asmith explained why she liked the sport and that it was not rare for females to be boxers. “It’s good exercise, a good workout. I really enjoy myself and it is important to defend yourself. I should be able to use the skills outside of the ring, but I have to be careful, because I could really hurt someone,” said Asmith.

Her siblings come to her matches and support her, and her mom also supports her love for boxing. Asmith's father was a karate instructor, but she is the first in her family to compete in boxing.

“I learned the stances and realized I really knew how to fight," said Asmith. "I won all my fights, and it is rare that I miss any school. I only missed one day because we were traveling,” she said.

When asked if others were critical of her boxing as a female, she said, “Some don’t understand, because they haven’t tried it yet. If they did, they would see why girls would be interested. It is good for girls to join. Boxing is a positive way to exercise. You move your whole body. [Also] If you are harmed, you can fight back. I can act like a man inside the ring and a lady outside the ring,” she said.

Noting that churches and schools are also supportive of her in the sport, Asmith said, "Boxing is fun. I always learn new things. The sport takes me outside of the state, where I can see and learn so much. This is what I love to do and that is the greatest thing.”

Winners in the Junior Olympic Regionals at Lake Placid, N.Y., will advance to the National Junior Olympic Tournament in Alabama.

“I am looking forward to the nationals in Alabama," said Asmith. "For females, we do have our own weight classes, but many are inexperienced. There are very few heavyweights, but more girls are joining, and in a year there will be more competition. It is interesting that more girls are getting involving in boxing. Charter Oak Boxing Academy is growing,” said Asmith.

Charter Oaks Academy, led by Callas, is committed to "building champions for life." The certified staff works to build personal development for 8- to 21-year-olds by making a personal investment, building positive self-esteem, strong character, and focusing on the value of education and professional social behavior. Charter Oaks teaches life skills to prevent drug, alcohol and gang violence prevention, healthy decision making, leadership, and encouraging goals and community-oriented mindsets.

“These are real serious amateur boxers," said Callas. "The workout is not so different than professional boxing. These kids work out for two hours a day, five days a week. There is so much focus on safety. This is one of the safer sports, compared to cheerleading and football. We have a doctor ringside and the referee can step in and stop the match, if he feels the need to,” said Callas, who is a big proponent of female boxing.

Those interested in getting involved at Charter Oak can contact the coach at or by calling 860-918-2844. Their gym is at Nomads Adventure Quest. Information packets are available at the front desk.

Other participants in the box-off included Manchester Ring of Champions Society, Sweet Science and Bare Bones gyms in East Hartford, the Hartford Police Athletic League, Bright Futures in Hartford and Boxing in Faith, of Hamden - which is known as one of the state's top amateur gyms.


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