Marlen Esparza is heading to the big leagues…
The 27-year-old Latina boxer, won the bronze medal in the women’s flyweight division at the 2012 London Games, has decided to go pro, signing a multi-year promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions on Wednesday.
Esparza, one of the world’s top female amateur boxers will make her professional debut in early 2017, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez said.
“I recently told my fans that I was going pro, and I am happy to announce that it will be the world’s best promotional company — Golden Boy Promotions,” Esparza said. “I am excited to get back into the ring as soon as possible and start climbing the ladder towards winning a professional world title.”
Esparza is the first female fighter signed by Golden Boy, which plans to become much more involved in women’s boxing.
“We really want to jump into women’s boxing,” Gomez said. “We feel she is someone who can revolutionize women’s boxing in the U.S. and bring awareness and excitement. Women’s boxing has been very successful around the world but we’re a little behind in the U.S. She is a smart young woman and she can fight.”
Esparza, who had around 200 amateur fights and lost about 12, won 12 consecutive U.S. national amateur championships and the flyweight gold medal at the 2014 world amateur championships.
She said she wants a world title as a professional and is very confident she will achieve her goal.
“This is a profession and a career for me but could I win a world title tomorrow? I could,” she told ESPN. “I could win it tomorrow but I want to do things correctly and fight my way to the top and do things the way they are supposed to be done, move my way up. I want to earn what I get. What I see myself doing is winning a world title when the time is right and when my team says it’s OK.
“I’m kind of for the first time feeling I’ve arrived. I’ve done so many things, but this (signing with Golden Boy) is something I feel I deserve. I am so ready for this. I’m not scared, I’m ready.”
She said she plans to get back into training right away and will go to England to train over the holidays with her good friend Nicola Adams, who won flyweight Olympic gold medals for Great Britain in 2012 and 2016.
Beyond her ring success, Esparza will come into the pro ranks already having established herself commercially. She has an endorsement deal with CoverGirl cosmetics and has appeared in Spanish-language television ads for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, among others.
“Before she ever steps foot into the ring as a professional, Marlen Esparza has already established herself as a rising star,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “At Golden Boy Promotions, we pride ourselves on developing fighters and transforming them into the best of the best. We look forward to doing the same with Marlen.”