It's an incredibly exciting time for female fighters especially if you start to pay attention to the caliber of young women making waves across various combat sports state side. More and more young female athletes are joining the ranks and finding opportunity and inspiration from a larger pool. From Gina Carano to Ronda Rousey who brought women's MMA into the forefront of mainstream viewers and promoters cards, to Olympic gold medalist like Clarissa Shields (boxing), Kayla Harrison (Judo) and Helen Maroulis (wrestling) who have brought international success to their sports, women have started to get the limelight for their achievements and hopefully more opportunities will continue to happen.
Meet Mayra G. Ruiz who I had the chance to photograph at the Beautiful Brawlers 7 card in Pacifica, CA last month. She took the 106lb champion belt there with a technical ease and aggression that was obvious to anyone watching. She's a well rounded athlete who has also competed in MMA and BJJ with her eyes on the 2020 Olympics for boxing. At only 15 years of age, she has an incredibly strong series of titles and an even brighter future.
FFP: When and where were you born?
Mayra G. Ruiz: Placentia CA July 2002.
FFP: What city do you currently train in? What team/academy are you on?
MGR: El Monte CA : Jerry Ortiz Memorial Boxing. Costa Mesa CA : Tomacelli Academy. (MMA)
FFP: What year did you start training?
MGR: In 2013 MMA / 2015 boxing.
FFP: What is your record and what titles do you hold?
MMA: (USFL) 4 fights.
BBJ : National Open Champ gi / no gi, WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS , DREAM , LA OPEN GI/NO GI.
BOXING: 2016 SO CAL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 101 LBS CHAMP
2016 SO CAL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 106 LBS CHAMP.
2016 DESERT SHOWDOWN 106 LBS CHAMP.
BEAUTIFUL BRAWLERS VI CHAMP 1105 LBS.
2017 SO CA; STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 110 LBS CHAMP.
BEAUTIFUL BRAWLERS VII CHAMP 106 LBS.
WBC CHAMP AMATEUR .
RANKING #2 IN USA BOXING.
FFP: What was your first exposure to combat sports and what were your first impressions?
MGR: My first experience in combat sports was through TV with my dad. I was watching Cain Velasquez a MMA fighter. My first impression was like wow and ask my dad to let me train!
FFP: How have your impressions and goals changed from when you first started to now?
MGR: My first impression of the sport was it was a challenge something new to learn, but now it turned into a life style. I live and breath boxing now.
FFP: What are some of the more difficult obstacles you've encountered in your journey and how did you overcome them?
MGR: One difficultly I face was the lack of support for this sport mostly for women. But I have overcome that by holding on to my dreams. Being ready 100% of the time so we can take any opportunity that comes, and also my family and coaches support helps me to keep on going.
FFP: Who are some of your biggest sources of inspiration/influence?
MGR: My inspiration, my hero in life is my brother Alex Ruiz. He is special. Over all his difficulties, he is the light of our family. The way he looks at life with a big smile, it's amazing. In the sport, my influence is Cain Velasquez MMA champ, Julio Cesar Chavez boxer champ, Jackie Nava boxer champ and Ana Gabriela track and flied runner.
FFP: Would you say you have a particular style?
MGR: Through my veins, I have Mexican blood going through my veins. I love going after the fight standing in front. I could also fight technical, but if I had to pick, I would go my Mexican way and give a war.
FFP: Who has been your biggest support?
MGR: My biggest support has been both my parents. They both been there and support me through the hard times.
FFP: What advice would you give to other young women interested in pursuing your sport?
MGR: Advice I would give is to hold on to your dreams keep on working and when things get hard stay strong and keep that smile. You'll get through it with hard work.
FFP: What's next?
MGR: National championship in Utah on Dec., World championship amateur, 2020 Olympics and to be 1# in the world pro. and also finish a career.
FFP: Any shout outs?
MGR: Shout outs to my parents, my brother, my gym Jerry Ortiz, my head coach Carlos Rodriguez, Tomacelli Academy coach Mike Tomacelli, Master Joe Moreira, Master Marco Ruas, Body evolution Mike Harris and everyone that supports me!