Yésica Yolanda Bopp is a resilient woman. Always it was. Since he was a teenager, when he was clear that he was not “attracted to playing with dolls” and wanted to start boxing, at the age of 16, at a time when there were very few female boxers in an eminently macho sport. At 24 she was already a world champion and today, at 37, she is already in the Guinness Book as the boxer with the longest standing of a world title (from 2008 to today, 12 years and seven months). But, of course, it is usual that in his life – and in his career – there are setbacks that he must overcome. Months ago she had one that hit her and changed her reality, such as the cancellation of the boxing Pre-Olympic and, therefore, of her Olympic dream. And now, 25 days ago, he added the second loss of his career (36-2, with 16 knockouts). In his first fight in almost two and a half years, he lost in Misiones to Santa Fe Juliana Basualdo. Just when he is days away from defending his WBA light fly scepter, in Colombia.
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But she, as always, maintains her mettle. “The Pre-Olympic was a blow, I was very excited to be in Tokyo and bring a medal for our country. But not the September defeat, because it is part of the process, of returning to the ring, to get back on track, after a long time without fighting. My goal is in the 22nd, to retain the title in the evening entirely of women’s boxing that will be held for the second time in history ”, says who will face the Venezuelan Johana Zuniga. But Tuti also continues to be that woman “who wants to be more than a boxer.” Mother, social psychologist, trainer and permanent in solidarity work, in this note she tells how she continues her life outside the ring …
-You came back and lost, but you don’t seem worried. On the contrary.
-No, first because I took it more as a return to the ring and second because I returned in a category that was not mine, giving weight advantages (NdeR: calculate that he fought with 4 kilos less than his rival), against a boxer with arms longer and in a six-round fight when I’m used to going to 10. We took everything into account, it could happen, but the priority was to make a previous fight before going for the title.
-You always learn from defeats, what did you learn in this case?
-As such, it is so. I learned that, at my age, I have to give more importance to pain, to recovery … Sometimes I think I can do everything, that when I warm up everything passes, and it is not like that. Now I suffered from plantar fasciitis, I fought infiltrated and during the fight I was caught by a pull that did not allow me to tread well. And I, who am 80% legs, was limited. I don’t want it to happen to me again, luckily I’m already training without pain.
-How did the cancellation of the Pre-Olympic affect you?
-And, it was a hard blow, because I was very excited to be an Olympian, to live that experience, to bring a medal to the country … It was the glory to be able to be in the first Game with women’s boxing, I had bet on that. The way of training had changed for months, because one thing is professional boxing and another is amateur. In the second it takes a lot of blows without force, perhaps the opposite of what I was used to. We had a lot of time training, even concentrating on Cenard, and when sleep fell, I had to rearrange everything, go back to the professional field, resume that type of training …
-How did you get there to defend the title?
-First very excited because we will once again live an evening totally of women’s boxing, as happened in La Guaira (Venezuela) in 2016. Now there will be five or six professional fights in Colombia. And physically I am fine, without pain, and fine-tuning everything to get to the weight well, in my category (up to 49 kilos). Nothing can fail. All the desire, all the anger, the Venezuelan boxer is going to take as a gift (laughs). I’m back with Tuti (laughs louder).
-I still want to have my chance in Las Vegas.
-And outside the ring, how is your life going?
-Accompanying my husband, Cuervo Silva, who won in September, retained the title and now goes for the Argentine record, being the mother of my baby every day bigger (Ariadna, 6 years old) and reopening my gym at the El club Progress in Sarandí. I am not practicing as a social psychologist but I am still involved in leadership talks and now I am starting a new solidarity project with the Saint-Gobain Footprint, this program that has already been helping poor places for 11 years and I have been since 2015.
-What place did you choose now?
-It is a transitional home for boys and girls (up to 17 years old) in emergency situations, whose objectives are to provide containment, listen to the problems of adolescents who are far from home, and seek options for family and social reengagement. We went to deliver company materials to improve the entire exterior of the building and we attended the training of the people who are going to do it, which is another contribution of the program. Not only the donation but also the teaching, leaving a mark in that way. It seems minor but making such a place more beautiful is important for those who live, even temporarily.
-And what did you find in the place, you ambassadors like to interact with people, to know realities.
-Yes, something special always happens to you when you go to one of the places that we choose each year to help and it happens that you are still connected. It happens to me, with the boxing gym that we rebuilt in Concordia and another in La Plata. We remain in contact to continue helping. And here, in this center, it happened to me that I met two boys of 14 and 15 years old who practice boxing and it moved me. I was chatting with them, they brought their gloves, we took a photo and gave them some tips. I also made myself available to the place to do a boxing school there.
-What is the main thing that you transmitted to them?
-That if they want to be successful, they have to focus on doing the best they can, giving everything looking for the best version and not staying halfway. The important thing is to have a passion, do something that you like and give it your all, because if in life you do not find a dream, a goal, you can end up on the worst path … I told the manager of the place about the importance of channeling through sports, especially in boys and girls who, at an early age, have had family problems. Sport allows you to channel a lot, it motivates you, it takes you to another life, to a journey of goals and care, physically, in food, in breaks … Sport organizes you and gives you a reason for the day a day. I’ve seen it a lot in boxing and I really like to convey it.