SELMA - When Magali Perez, 13, gained interest in boxing at an early age, she immediately fell in love with the sport. Since then, Perez’s love and commitment to the sport has driven her to success in the ring against national competition.

On Feb. 2, Perez, with her father Daniel Perez in her corner, claimed a national title at the 2019 USA National Silver Gloves Tournament in Independence, Missouri. Every state in the tournament had a representative.

Magali ended the three day tournament (Jan. 30 - Feb. 2) by claiming the championship belt in the 13-14-year-old, 114-pound division. She defeated Gracy Kennedy of North Dakota in the finals.

Winning that belt was a feeling she couldn’t explain.

“It never hit me until I walked off,” Magali said. “‘Wait I really won?’ I just couldn’t believe it.”

The national championship win came after Magali earned state and regional titles. Magali earned her state championship in Carson on December 2018 and won her regional title in Compton a month later.

Before she began knocking out the competition, Magali gained interest in boxing at three-years-old because of her father's involvement in the sport. Daniel started boxing after high school as a way to lose weight and get in shape. Daniel said he didn’t have the competitive career as she daughter has, but he gained enough knowledge that he’ll eventually used in Magali’s training sessions.

“To teach my daughter, it’s a little special,” Daniel said. “She’s really talented on her own. She’s a quick learner. She adjusts all the time to do what she needs to do to win. To me, I’m honored to be able to teach and pass on the teachings that I’ve learned.”

Along with her father, Magali is trained by David Davis, who is the operator of the Way of the Fist - a karate and boxing facility - in downtown Selma.

When Magali was a child, Daniel remembers the time when his daughter told him that she wanted to box, but that wasn't the only thing she wanted to pursue at the time.

“She was only four or five years old when she said ‘Dad, I want to be a boxer and a veterinarian’ and that’s what she wanted to do,” Daniel said. “She’s been doing the boxing, I’m just waiting for her to get interested to become a veterinarian.”

Magali said she hasn’t ruled out about pursuing a career as a veterinarian, but it will be something she’ll think about as she enters her freshman year at Selma High School in the fall.

As far as boxing, Magali has long term goals that include representing her country.

“I do see myself in the Olympics in 2024,” Magali said.

Magali said she has also thought about becoming a professional boxer, but she’s aiming toward her Olympic aspirations first.

Other than boxing, Magali is also a competitive swimmer. Magali swam for Selma Aqua Bears this past summer and will continue to compete in the sport when she enters high school. She plans to join the Selma High swimming team to keep herself conditioned for boxing.

No matter what other sport she competes in, boxing will always be her first love.

“It’s just the feeling,” Magali said. “You see someone in front of you and you just know what to do…..I just love that feeling.”

As for her short-term goal, Magali is aiming to return to the Silver Gloves National tournament in 2020. The Silver Gloves tourney has an age limit that stops at 14, and she'll be at that age when the tournament commences. It'll be the final time Magali will be eligible to compete in the Silver Gloves tournament.

If she qualifies for the tournament again, Magali’s objective is simple.

“Probably, to win the title again,” she said.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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