Coming off consecutive runner-up finishes in major tournaments, USA Boxing featherweight Andrea Medina is within one tournament of representing her country in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In December, the 20-year-old Medina lost a split decision to Lupe Gutierrez at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing, and 4-1 to Iulia Tsyplakova (Ukraine) last month at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria. The Chula Vista, California boxer was recently named to USA Boxing’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Boxing Qualification Team.
“Placing second at the trials only made me more eager to get that Olympic Qualification spot,” Medina said. “I just wanted to show USA Boxing that I was the one to represent at 57 kilograms. I am only going to get better and I cannot wait to show the world everything that I got.
“For it (Strandja) being my first ever international tournament, I was very proud of how far I got in the tournament and getting that silver medal. I was very happy with all my performances and I am excited to get back to work on things I need to improve on. Aside from all that, going to a different country was awesome and I can’t wait to travel more doing what I love the most.”
Medina and her Team USA stablemates are currently training in Colorado Springs at the state-of-the-art United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. To qualify for participation in this year’s Olympic Games, Medina needs to finish among the top three in the 57-kilogram (125 lbs.) division at the America’s Qualification Tournament, March 26-April 3, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One final opportunity at the World Qualifier in Paris, France, in which she could qualify for the Olympics by placing among the top five.
“It means the world to me to be on the USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team,” Medina added. “It is everything I have been working for since I started competing at eight years old and I cannot believe the Olympic Games are only in a few months. Making history in San Diego by being the first person to make the Olympic Team for boxing is a big deal for my family, my city and myself. I cannot express how excited I am to have come this far, but there is still so much to do, and I am ready.
“I feel that I work better under pressure and I truly believe that I will qualify for Tokyo, whether it be in Argentina or France, but my main goal, right now, is to train hard to get that gold in Argentina.”
Medina believes her major strength inside the ring is her ability to adjust during a fight. She prefers fighting on the outside, but she can brawl if needed, because she enjoys throwing a lot of power punches.
Medina also realizes that she’s in a prime place regarding the rising popularity of female boxing, following in the USA Boxing footsteps of two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza, along with past USA Olympians such as Queen Underwood and Mikaela Mayer.
“Female boxing is only going to get bigger,” Medina predicted. “Being a female fighter today means a lot to me, because I have been doing this for 15 years now, and seeing it grow year after year only shows how strong females are and what we can accomplish. I predict that, in the future, boxing will not be seen as a man’s sport, but will be neutral for both men and women.”
Competing at the Olympics has been a life-long dream for Medina, but she also has plans for her immediate future.
“Reaching the Olympics has been my main goal throughout my boxing career,” Andrea remarked, “so now that it is so close makes me want to work even harder. Other goals of mine are to graduate from college and get my own condominium, which I will do after all this is over.
“I plan on turning pro after the Olympics, most likely at the beginning or middle of 2021, so I can finish school and give my body some rest and recovery.”
Andrea Medina is so close to being an Olympian and everything associated with that accomplishment that she can practically reach out and feel it. Just one more step, whether in Buenos Aires or Paris, and it’ll be mission accomplished for her.