American professional boxer, Olympian, World Boxing Champion, mother and Texan, Marlen Esparza continues to thrive in her already incredible career. Her accolades transcend her talent and hunger to succeed. Named Pasadena (TX) High School class president and graduating with a 4.6 GPA, she made a deal with her father that if she was successful in school he would support her passion for boxing.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee made the announcement that women’s boxing would become a newly added sport, so instead of attending Rice University after winning two Women’s National Boxing Championships in 2006 and 2007, Esparza began her training for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Once this announcement was made Nike, Coca-Cola and CoverGirl sponsored Marlen which helped her continue training and allowed for her to quit her day job as a dental assistant.
Leading up to the 2012 Olympics, Marlen went on to win the amateur U.S. National Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She qualified for the Olympic Games at the World Championship in China. Esparza is the first American woman boxer to ever compete in the Olympics. She brought home the bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games! In 2011, the documentary ‘In Her Corner: Latino in America 2’, made by Soledad O’Brien and CNN, which followed Esparza’s journey up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
After her Olympic debut, she continued winning the U.S. National Championships 2013-2015. Shortly after, Esparza went “pro” and became Golden Boy Promotions’ first female professional boxer.
She continues boxing and on June 19, 2021 won the WBC female flyweight title. Congratulations, Marlen! You and your story inspires us all!