HOUSTON Boxer and Pasadena native Marlen Esparza scored a big win at the London Olympics on Monday that means she s headed to the semi-finals and guaranteed a place on the medal stand.
At the age of 22, Marlen Esparza is the first U.S. woman in history to win an Olympic boxing match.
All I do is sleep and eat and work out. I m confident but not overconfident, said Esparza.
KHOU caught up with the Houston native just before she departed for the London Olympics.
I ll definitely have Houston in mind. It s where I m from. These are the people who ve been behind me since I was 12 or 13 years old. So I won t forget it, said Esparza.
Many of her supporters are at Fellowship of Nations and Fighter Nation, where Esparza trains.
She calls me every day and I have prayer with her before every night, said Pastor Johnny Brady.
Brady says it s her unwavering faith that drives Esparza inside the ring and in life.
Esparza may be going for the gold, but she s already struck it with big-name backers from Nike, Cover Girl and Coca-Cola.
I remind myself that I have people counting on me now. So that definitely wakes me up in the morning, I guess you could say, said Esparza.
Pro-boxer Reggie Sweet Johnson has three world titles and had this to say of Esparza: She s down to Earth. Some people, including myself at a point in my career when I got to a certain level, I kind of got big-headed. As far as I can see, she s still the same person. Very level-headed.
Level-headed, with a soaring career.