Houston featherweight Roma Martinez, who represents the next wave of USA female boxers, is currently In Argentina to make a statement at the ongoing Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
The Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 continues through Oct. 18 at Parque Polidesportivo Roca in Argentina.
The 18-year-old Martinez started boxing six years ago, when her step-father came into her life, taking her to a local boxing gym to help keep her out of potential trouble, as well to defend herself.
She is an online student at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, planning to major in business, and Roma has been able to balance her busy schedule for a simple reason. “I don’t have much of a social life,” she admitted, “so it’s easy for me to train and study.”
Argentina is the second foreign country she’s traveled to having competed last November in India. Although she has a relatively limited amateur career, Martinez has managed to capture top honors at six national events: 2016 USA Boxing Nationals, 2014 & 2015 Batte lf the Universe, 20-15 Women’s Golden Glove, 2-15 Junior Olympics Nationals, and 2014 Brown Gloves.
Like many of her Team USA teammates, in addition to opponents from all over the world, Roma hopes she can parlay an impressive performance in Buenos Aires to improve her chances to eventually qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
“The Youth Olympics is the biggest thing in my career because I hope to compete in the 2020 Olympics,” Martinez said. “The Youth Olympics is almost as big as the Olympics, only younger athletes compete. I take things one day at a time, but I do have goals to make the Olympics, win a gold medal, and then turn pro and win a world title.
“This is my last youth competition. This December I will move up to Elite Division. There will be a difference in age (of her opponents) and more international competition, but I need that experience to reach my goals.”
Roma, she says, is a technical boxer who occasionally brings pressure. Her favorite boxer is the great “Sugar” Ray Leonard and she looks up to Nicola Adams (2012 & 2016 Olympic gold medalist from Great Britain) and Mikaela Mayer (2016 USA Olympian). Roma has taken advantage of sparring sessions with Adams and Mayer, respectively, in Houston and Colorado Springs.
Martinez believes female boxing is on the upswing and she looks forward to its future. “The more top female boxers will mean bigger things for us,” Martinez added, “We’ll get more TV time and make more money.”
Roma credits USA Boxing for her learning how to be disciplined and she’s grateful for the outstanding coaching she’s received. Martinez plans to travel a lot in the future and when she earns her business degree, Roma is determined to use it to her advantage, owning a restaurant and, possibly, a gym so that she can remain in boxing after she hangs up her gloves way down the road.