By Rob Varnon
The Stamford Advocate, Conn.
Sixteen-year-old Autum Ashante moved around the boxing ring of a Stamford gym, flashing jabs and combinations that popped loudly as they landed on the thick, flat, padded mitts a trainer held.
As she patrolled the ring working on a focus drill with the trainer — Chordale Booker, this year’s welterweight silver medalist at the USA National Boxing Championship — Ashante concentrated on her footwork while intently throwing the combinations Booker called out and warding off a few feints he threw.
Being a female boxer is just one thing people find surprising about Ashante.
She graduated from high school at age 11, and already has a couple of years of college under her belt. She writes and recites poetry, and is looking to head to a four-year college or university to study chemistry.
She’s also a good boxer, gearing up for a fight this weekend in New Haven.
Her other interests and accomplishments conflict with the stereotypes people have about boxing and girls, Ashante said Friday during a break from training.
“They freak out,” she said, when she tells people that she boxes.
After they get over the shock, she said, people ask questions, and most of the girls end up liking the idea of boxing. She admitted that some of the boys she talks to aren’t as supportive, unlike the male boxers at the gym.
“We’re a family,” she said of the men and women who train at her gym, Revolution Fitness and Training on Pacific Street in the South End.
Ashante has helped to expand that family, bringing some of her friends from Norwalk Community College to the gym to try their hand at the “sweet science.”
That hasn’t translated into getting fights, however. She’s had only one so far, had at least three canceled, and her bout this weekend was in doubt Tuesday due to a problem finding an opponent in her weight class.