Just weeks away from the chance to unify the women's junior lightweight titles, Alycia Baumgardner is as excited as she is for the opportunity to make history.
Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) is also facing her biggest payday of her career - but before her Mikaela Mayer (17-0, 5 KOs) will be unbeaten. The September 10 bout at the 02 Arena in London represents a historic women's only boxing card, with the protagonist being the women's superfight between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall.
Muscle and Fitness caught up with Alycia Baumgardner to talk about her preparation, featured on a "life-changing" card for the sport, her modeling career and the legacy she's creating.
Alycia Baumgardner is locked and loaded
At the moment we are at the peak of the training camp. We're really pulling through here, because we still have four weeks left. When fight week comes, we sort of relax. We do minimal training just to stay loose. We train three days a week. We run twice a day so everything is fine - we just need to make sure everything is working.
We start with a run at 5:30 am. We do 800 meters on the track. With my current position in the camp, that's probably about eight, which is difficult. We go back home, relax, have breakfast, get up again at noon. That will be when the second practice is. If it's a sparring day, I'll probably do about eight to ten rounds. After sparring, I'll hit the pocket, maybe do a cooldown run. After that I go back home, relax. The third workout of the day could be a swim or a recovery workout. After that I go to sleep and do it again the next day.
Setting a precedent for boxing
This card is life changing. I'd say that speaks volumes for the sport of boxing, period - not just for women's boxing, but for boxing in general. Being part of this map means being part of history. It is not common to have a women-only card, especially two cards destined for division unifying titles to be uncontested. Also, being in the UK at the O2 Arena - that's huge too. And just the pedigree of the fight. These are high quality athletes at the top of their weight class for you to see. Here the best of the best will fight against each other.
I believe this will change the direction in which women's boxing is going. Earlier in the year we had Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano - who caused quite a stir at Madison Square Garden and I think allowed this map to be presented in a different spotlight to have more than one woman on the map fighting for the titles To really elevate the sport of women's boxing and give it more attention. I think many people will agree. There's real animosity between me and Mikaela and between Savannah and Claressa so it's definitely worth checking out.
Alycia Baumgardner rolls the punches
Honestly, I just take some time for myself. I'll keep a little journal, a little prayer, and just sit by myself to understand my purpose. I'll even watch some sparring videos just to keep this image in my head and know that I'm the best. This is what separates me from the world I'm going to really just focus on myself. At the end of the day, I'm the one going in the ring alone.
Courtesy of Team Baumgartner
Beauty and the Beast
There are two sides to me. Since boxing is a male dominated sport and as brutal as some say I am able to separate the two and be a beauty and a beast and really just combine the two. I can be that strong woman but I can also have that feminine side to show my soft side and dress up. I think it's a great balance to have and to show others, 'Oh, she can do both and she can fight. t only can she fight, she can fight, fight!”
In modeling I would say just being comfortable was the fitting. Just as it feels comfortable being interviewed in front of the camera, it's kind of the same. I just put myself in your mindset without having to think about it. Just be who you are, be comfortable, and when you are your authentic self, you can simply produce more of yourself for the world to see.
Just being fit and my personal well-being is important to me and a lifestyle. So I make sure I eat right and my weight is good so it just fits into your lifestyle. So when I get a call I don't have to worry about losing weight or if my abs are okay. I'm ready to go
I am very careful about what I eat. Don't get me wrong, I often cheat at food, but how I eat, I know it's part of my accomplishment and I put that to good use. It's important that people know it's a lifestyle and it has to be. When you're in a sport like this, you never know when you're going to get that call to fight. You don't want to be overweight and now you're at camp, losing weight instead of training for the fight. That's not a problem for me as I'm staying at the fighting weight.
Alycia Baumgardner also protects the women of Detroit
Despite a busy schedule, Alycia Baumgardner spent three years teaching women's self-defense classes in Detroit at SuperBad Boxing.
"Men are invited, but mostly it's only women. It's a 30 minute class with the sauna on so it's hot in there too. You lose weight, sweat and control your breathing. We hit the heavy bag and it's all full body cardio. Many women love it. We make music and it's fun when you can do sports for fun.
I believe in motivating people. At the end of the day, years from now, they will remember that Alycia helped me get over that hurdle. Whether it was about losing weight or a conversation to motivate you to the next class. It's about planting those seeds in people and watering them daily so they can do that for others. I think that's how wisdom grows everywhere and from one person to another.
If you talk about women's boxing, you'll mention Alycia Baumgardner. Being in the Hall of Fame and just cementing who I am. She's that all-around athlete, but she's also that woman who helps her communities, gives back, and motivates others. Legacy is also your character. People remember who you are and your accomplishments. I can be a multiple world champion, but it's also my character, what I do, how I give back and how I move forward in life.
You can catch Alycia Baumgardner in action against Mikaela Mayer on September 10th on ESPN+