Boxing phenom Alexis Lavarine racking up title belts _lowres


Bulky title belts are in style each summer — at least for Metairie boxer Alexis Lavarine.

The soon-to-be seventh-grader at T.H. Harris Middle School captured the third of her career in August when she gutted out a majority decision over Lizbeth Retiz of Alamo, Texas, to win the 12-year-old novice 100-pound division of the Ringside World Championship in Independence, Missouri.

This June, Lavarine (9-1) plans to expand her boxing wardrobe with visits to the Title National Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas (June 17-20) and the Pikes Peak National Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado (June 24-26). She will later compete in the National All-Female Golden Gloves Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, make a return trip to the Ringside World Tournament, and finally lace up her gloves for a second Title National Tournament in Doraville, Georgia.

“I can guarantee you that no other female will compete in all of these prestigious tournaments, back-to-back, across the U.S. in 100 days,” said Lavarine’s co-trainer and father, David Lavarine. “It’s too many miles to cover and the expenses are enormous.”

But it’s an investment he’s more than willing to make.

Lavarine has been heralded as a phenom in women’s boxing ever since she was featured as an Olympic hopeful on the official website of the 2012 Summer Olympics. She trains out of the Big Easy Boxing Club in New Orleans and often spars with male opponents who are bigger, stronger and many years older.

Her most recent partner was 20-year-old Rennard Oliver, an up-and-coming pro featherweight with a 2-0 record.

With a steely, determined glare that could burn a hole through a heavy bag, Lavarine went toe-to-toe with Oliver and absorbed some heavy punches.

But she also walked away undaunted and unscathed, and was grateful for the opportunity.

“(Oliver) didn’t hurt me, but he let me know he was there a few times,” Lavarine admitted. “If I know I can fight older people with more experience, I know I will be able to do well against younger people with less experience.”

Lavarine’s stringent sparring schedule has helped her make exponential strides in the ring. Her stiff jab, strong left hook and an elusive defense make her good, but it’s Lavarine’s intelligence that makes her great.

Lavarine maintained a 4.89 GPA in the classroom and her studious approach to sparring is paying major dividends in tournaments.

“She is extremely bright,” said Lavarine’s co-trainer, Dennis Guidry. “She takes what we’re giving her and she applies it.”

Lavarine trusts her hard work will pay off this summer. The belts are nice, but she’s hoping they’ll one day lead to a fashion accessory that she’ll be able to drape around her neck.

“I want to represent my country in the 2020 Olympics,” Lavarine said, “and win a gold medal.”