In the Club: Boxing with UW senior Zasha Sepulveda

“First time I hit a person, it was exciting because you can hit a person and not get in trouble. But it also lasted very short because that person hit me right back.”

“It was very impulsive, how I got into boxing. I was walking on the campus and saw that there was a boxing club and decided I wanted to do it. So I did it. I didn’t think I was going to make the team. Honestly, I thought I was going to do the tryout and I could say, ‘I did it.’ And even if I made the team, I was only going to do it for few months. I did not expect it to become a lifestyle.”

“One: I’m super competitive. And two: I hate losing. So much. I was successful not because I was athletic, but because I was really competitive.”

“I hate it when these big, 300-pound football players whose legs are the size of me ask if I can knock them out. Like, do you really think someone like me, who’s 130 pounds, can knock you out? They want me to hit them and it’s so annoying. What does that prove? That you can take a punch from a girl? I won’t knock you out, but I could probably hurt you.”

Emerald City Boxing Gym, in Green Lake, is the headquarters of the UW Boxing Club.

Zasha Sepulveda, a senior majoring in biophysics, sits ringside with sophomore Linghong Schoch.

“On a typical day, I’d wake up at 8 a.m. to go to class, then go work out before practice and after practice. I’d come home and do homework, and I wouldn’t go to bed until like 4 a.m. So it’s not something easy to do, but I wanted to do it because I loved boxing and I was willing to do anything to be successful at it.”

“It is really easy to get caught up with other people’s image. Like, someone has this many fights and someone has knocked out this many people, some people have this title or that title. That made me insecure, but the biggest thing that made me overcome that was when I fought an Olympian.

I was sparring Queen Underwood, who has been in the Olympics. She’s knocked girls out. She’s knocked guys out. So when my coach told me that I’m going to spar her, that was scariest thing of my life. She’s super dope—I love her to death and she’s an amazing person—but getting in the ring with her when I only had couple years of experience and she’s been fighting forever, I was super nervous.

But I had to get that out of my head, otherwise, I’d get beat up in the ring. There was a point where she hit me with her jab so hard that I thought I was almost knocked out, but then I realized that I was still standing and thought, ‘I can do this!’

After that punch, my mindset switched. She and I ended up having really good sparring match. I was able to hold my own in the ring with her—an Olympian!

She had like 15 pounds of muscle on me, and she’s probably four inches taller than me, so it was very intimidating. But my mind switched to, ‘I can’t be afraid of her. I know why I am here and I know what I can do.’”