By: Ron Valderrama/Examiner.com
Born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Sulem Urbina-Soto knew she wanted to be a boxing champion at an early age. Ironically, her dream to become an Olympic champion wasn’t even on her radar until women’s boxing became an official Olympic event. Since then, her passion shifted and the rest is history. She moved to Arizona as a young child and discovered boxing around the age of ten.
Years ago, Sulem began training with amateur boxing coach and trainer Andy Soto, a Valley fixture here in Phoenix and often noticed by Sulem for winning numerous tournaments in Arizona, as well as many national tournaments. Under Andy’s direction, Sulem’s boxing skills were tweaked and fine tuned resulting in added wins to her fast improving amateur record. The two would later marry and make boxing the primary family business.
In her short twenty-five years, Sulem Urbina-Soto has experienced tremendous victory and devastating loss. She witnessed the loss of her brother, the late Alexis Urbina. As a promising young amateur boxer, Alexis Urbina’s life was cut short shortly after becoming the USA Boxing National champion in 2013. But when most would have given up, Sulem Urbina-Soto chose to continue her quest, fighting in the memory of her brother and doing so with a vengeance. She also has another younger brother that has entered boxing as an amateur, Ulisses Urbina looks to have promise as a boxer, often looking like Alexis Urbina in the ring. Ulisses, like Sulem is coached by Andy Soto as well.
In December, the World Boxing Council (WBC) held an event, “Keeping the Happy in Holidays” held in Baldwin Park, California. The event was held to bring awareness and focus to mental health issues such as anxiety for today’s youth. Along with many of boxing’s biggest names, the WBC recognized Sulem as one of the standout female amateur boxers and Olympic hopefuls. Sulem also accepted an award presented by the WBC for her late brother Alexis in a special “Ten Bell Count,” paying respect to those we recently lost in boxing. Sulem says it was a moving and touching experience.
Posting numerous wins and titles, Sulem Urbina-Soto now sits on the cusp with a chance to participate of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and possibly become the first female to win the gold medal in boxing for Mexico. It’s been a long road, and a road with many ups and downs. What sets her apart from many boxers, the fact that Sulem has improved her skill as a boxer, her dedication is evident in the ring. Her speed and movement allow her to find opportunity when facing an opponent. The Olympic Games are not far away, her chances to qualify for the Olympics are good, but she remains humble and focused.
Women’s boxing generally lacks the attention of their male counterpart, but without a doubt women bouts often produce exciting action to watch. Sulem Urbina-Soto has a bright future in boxing, hopefully as an Olympian and for sure as a pro.