Googled: Julie Anne Kelly ’01, pugilist

Published: May 2009

Boxing enthusiasts who packed Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater on April 17 witnessed what called a “slugfest” in which Julie Anne Kelly ‘01 captured the 132-pound amateur women’s title in the New York State Golden Gloves boxing tournament. Kelly took up the sport as a way to get in shape following chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was diagnosed shortly after graduation. The former art history major initially turned to running, with the thought of competing in marathons, but found she “didn’t have the passion.” Three years ago she tried boxing and “fell in love with it.” “It’s kind of a chess game,” she told @BC. “For everything your opponent does, there’s a reaction you should have. What’s so great about the sport is you’re always learning something.”

Raised in Dedham, Massachusetts, Kelly now lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and begins most days at 6:00 a.m. with a three- to five-mile run through her neighborhood. She then heads for Manhattan, where she works as a media project market manager at Hearst-Argyle Digital. Evenings she spends at the boxing school of Francisco Mendez in Midtown, where “there is a lot of hanging out, talking boxing,” she says. “I like to leave the gym each night having laughed so hard my cheeks hurt. I am rarely let down.”

Kelly’s Golden Gloves victory earned her the right to compete in the national Golden Gloves tournament in July, but shoulder surgery will prevent her participation. She has no doubt that she will be back in the ring. “Nothing’s going to stop me,” says the 29-year-old pugilist. “My dream is to be the best fighter I can possibly be. I don’t have to be the best, I just have to be my best.”

This feature was posted on Friday, May 15, 2009 and is filed under Research.
Writer: Daniel Soyer