Alexa Garrobo to compete for the regional Golden Gloves belt this weekend
LOS LUNAS- Amidst what could be called “controlled chaos” at Rosales Karate & Kickboxing gym in Los Lunas, a visitor’s senses come alive.
The constant yells of encouragement; the clickity click of the speed bag and whirring of the jump rope; grimaces and sweat adorning faces; the thump-thump of the heavy bag, as thick air engulfs the gym while dozens of mostly young people enthusiastically go through their paces.
In the middle of all this, 20-year-old Alexa Garrobo, of Peralta, focuses on her regimen as she prepares for the biggest boxing match of her career. In early June, Garrabo captured her second New Mexico Golden Gloves Championship in Belen.
Next, on Saturday, July 23, in Aurora, Colo., Garrobo will enter the ring seeking a regional Golden Gloves belt, a trip to nationals and a launching pad to a professional career.
Garrobo admits she will be an underdog against Lupe Gutierrez, of Sacramento, Calif., a former Team USA Olympic alternate.
“I feel really excited,” Garrabo says. “I feel honored to fight the No. 1 girl in the nation, to test myself.”
Rosales Karate & Kickboxing owner-operator Anthony Rosales is Garrobo’s longtime coach. Admittedly, Rosales says he did not see a future champion when Garrobo came to the gym as an 8 year old.
Her mother hoped she would learn self-defense skills as a kickboxer. Eventually, something pulled Garrobo toward boxing, where it was a natural fit.
“I just love the sport,” Garrobo said. “I love the game. It’s like a chess game. I just love it.”
Rosales believes the sport loves her, too.
“The ability that she has, it’s amazing. I can show her any kind of combination and she’ll grasp it,” Rosales said. “She has a lot of power for a female. She fights at 125 (pounds) and probably hits like a man at 140.”
After being coaxed to explain her success, Garrabo got to the point.
“I have the skill. I’m tall. I have the reach,” she said laughing. “I’m a natural.”
In reality, it is probably something of a surprise that Garrobo has reached this far in the boxing world. She has dealt with anxiety issues for years, and not just in the boxing ring.
“It was everywhere around, even when going out with friends,” she said.
Coach Rosales recalls her crying and throwing up before her first fight, but Garrobo stuck with it. She and the coach are convinced boxing has played a positive role in dealing with her anxiety.
“It helped me a lot to have more confidence in myself and to believe in myself more and to face my fears,” Garrobo explained.
Rosales calls it getting rid of “bad energy.”
Right now, the quiet, unassuming Garrobo, seems to be in a good place.
She and her family moved from Mexico to New Mexico when she was 4 years old. Two years ago, about the time she graduated from Los Lunas High School, Garrobo became a United States citizen.
She is attending the University of New Mexico, studying law enforcement. The long-term dream is to work for the FBI. The short-term dream is to have continued success in Golden Gloves and then turn professional.
Coach Rosales believes she can make a living in the ring.
“She handles herself well in the amateur level, but as a professional, she’ll have to pick it up,” said Rosales, adding specifically with her conditioning.
Garrobo says, bring it on.
“I’ve come to love the sport. I feel like I can maybe go all the way to the top.”
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.