Kenner resident Alexis Lavarine scored a tense and taut decision over Cheyanne Crutchfield to capture the 101-Pound Open Division Championship at the 2014 National Boxing tournament last Thursday in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Lavarine (7-1) moved up from the novice division to fight Crutchfield, who is two years older and two inches taller. But that didn’t stop Lavarine, 11, from applying pressure through all three rounds.
She even rattled Crutchfield with a few jabs that drew blood.
“Alexis was busier and relentless,” Lavarine’s co-trainer Dennis Guidry said. “She pounded (Crutchfield) pretty well. She even caught her with some square punches that drew a reaction from the crowd.”
Lavarine fights out of the Big Easy Boxing Club in New Orleans, but often hits the highway with her father and co-trainer, David Lavarine, to find new sparring partners. She prepared for the Crutchfield bout by sparring an assortment of fighters at the Gulfport Boxing Club in Mississippi up to two times a week.
“Some of the kids Alexis fights (at Gulfport) are rough and wild, and they give her looks that she’s never seen before,” David Lavaine said. “She suffered a couple of bloody noses.”
The grueling sessions paid off.
“(Crutchfield) was a little wild with her punches, but I am prepared to fight boxers who are wild, calm, short or tall,” Lavarine said. “It was a pretty close fight, but I was more aggressive than she was.”
Lavarine was featured as an Olympic hopeful on the official website of the 2012 Summer Olympics and has since been touted as a rising star in women’s boxing. The soon-to-be sixth-grader at John Curtis Christian School plans on competing at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
In the meantime, she continues to jog, shadow box with dumbells and smack a heavy bag up to seven days a week with her sights set on Olympic gold.
Her victory over Crutchfield pushed her a step closer.
“There’s always someone willing to fight a champion,” Guidry said. “In most cases, she has to travel to other states to get matches, but now there’s a possibility that other fighters might travel to fight her. Now she has a belt that’s bigger even than she is.”
Rather than celebrating her championship win at the hotel Thursday, Lavarine jumped into her family’s minivan and napped in the backseat while her father made the long drive home.
The road to the Olympic medal podium is long and winding, but Lavarine is enjoying the journey.
“We pulled into the driveway at 6:59 a.m. and surprised my wife and (other) children with the belt,” David Lavarine said. “This is Alexis’ second, but I have a feeling that she’s going to win many more.”