Sergi Escudero |
Castellbisbal (Barcelona) (EFE).- Sant Esteve Sesrovires is a town known worldwide thanks to Rosalía. Jana Fernández, Barcelona defender, also grew up there. And now another illustrious daughter has appeared for him: Tania Álvarez, the first Spanish boxer to fight at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York. But, despite her milestone, this sport still does not allow her to reach the end of the month.
The 21-year-old boxer combines boxing with other jobs. “On Saturday I work as a receptionist in the gym where I train and another day a week I clean a house for a few hours,” Álvarez explained to EFE in an interview conducted at the Castellbisbal Gym, her second home. There is still a shadow in her eyes that bears witness to the fight last Saturday.
Álvarez is a reflection of a fact: to this day, no Spanish boxer can live exclusively from fighting in a ring.
The extra jobs help the young boxer to pay for the gasoline for the daily car journey between her home, in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, and her training place, in the nearby town of Castellbisbal, both located in the northwest of Barcelona . They are 15 kilometers that she completes in 20 minutes.
«My training prevails over the fact that I spend my physical and mental energy on other jobs. I do the minimum to pay for the gasoline to come to train. Luckily, I don’t have to pay rent or food because my parents help me,” says Álvarez, who lost in Madison to Skye Nicolson.
The 27-year-old Australian became the WBC silver featherweight world champion by unanimous decision of the judges.
“The bags of money that I collect in Spain have nothing to do with the one I received in Madison. This opportunity has generated more visibility for me. Little by little, more opportunities may emerge with larger economic pockets”, explains Álvarez.
On January 28, the Spanish women’s super bantamweight championship between Karla Mérida and Marian Herrería was held in Barcelona. The promoter was Barcelona Boxing Nights, which offered a purse of 2,500 euros per female boxer, a high price compared to the average that is usually paid in Spanish women’s boxing.
“It was a great experience to see how the boxer is treated in the United States, how the media supports boxing. They do it at the same level that happens with football in Spain”, says Álvarez.
“The fact that there is not so much media interest in Spain means that there are few people who support you financially and that few sponsors appear,” he laments.
She only has one. She is branded by Charlie, who provides her with all the boxing equipment with which she trains and competes.
“I think the fight at Madison will open doors for me. I have met a lot of people and the repercussion it has had has meant that my number of followers has grown on social networks, something very important when it comes to getting brands interested in you”, explains the Catalan boxer.
Prior to Madison, Álvarez competed in seven professional bouts. They all ended in victory for her. “That positioned me among the top 10 in the world and my manager knew how to do her job to be at the right time in the right place,” she explains.
Álvarez started going to boxing classes at the age of 14. Previously, he tried swimming, ballet, soccer, taekwondo, rhythmic gymnastics, and horse riding. But none of these sports motivated him enough.
“At that time, my mother saw that there was a boxing gym near my house and she suggested that my brother try it. But I also wanted to try. It is the only sport that has hooked me since the first time I practiced it, ”he says.
In the family, the concern arose when Álvarez decided that he wanted to dedicate himself to boxing as a way of life.
“My father locked me in a room for three hours and played me all the news he could find about boxer injuries. Those three hours were worthless, ”he explains with a smile.
Beyond the physical danger that boxing entails, Tania Álvarez’s parents had another concern. “When they saw that she was determined to do it yes or yes, what worried them was the fact that if I didn’t have some studies or something else in the long run I could be left with nothing.”
In addition to his multiple jobs, he is now studying a training course in nutrition and dietetics.
Her trainer and manager is Toni Moreno, who has experienced the growth of women’s boxing in recent years.
“I had a European bantamweight champion, Melania Sorroche, who moved in very small numbers. Now, on the other hand, the European and world champions move in astronomical figures, ”she tells EFE.
Moreno considers that “audiovisual platforms such as DAZN are betting on women’s boxing and this fact, among other things, has caused it to grow a lot economically in Spain.”
Although the figures are still light years away from what is being paid in other countries. “In New York there are female boxers who are collecting purses of up to one million euros, something unthinkable a few years ago,” he says.
Why is there such a difference between Spain and other countries? “In the United States or in England they have boxing much more identified with their society. In England there are many schools where they practice boxing in the physical education subject. In addition, they continually show boxing on television, ”he replies.
The appearance of new references such as Tania Álvarez is a first step for history to begin to change.