Remember laura strong who at the age of 16 wanted to start boxing and received so much support at home, so much understanding, so much encouragement that his father, Manuel, he signed up with her. “In my gym, Asturbox, in Gijón, there was an offer that lasted three months and we both went. He left quickly, but I stayed,” the first Spanish boxer classified for the Olympic Games recalls in conversation with EL MUNDO. Before her, since the 2024 Paris Games, there were 48 male boxers in competition and up to three medalists –enrique rodriguez, Faustino Kings y Rafael Lozano twice – but no woman. It is not possible to speak of equally, precisely.
From Monteana, a tiny district of Gijón, next to the ArcelorMittal blast furnaces, a working area, Fuertes had tried everything before boxing. He practiced swimming until he burned out, like so many others, he dedicated a couple of seasons to basketball and tennis, discovered karate and finally got into the ring with all the intention of competing, of making a name for himself. “I know that now there are many people who box recreationally, just for training, but I am very competitive. There is nothing that gives you the adrenaline that competition gives you. The truth is that before boxing I tried many things, but I did time that caught my attention. I watched videos on YouTube and Instagram, I followed him on television. One day my mother took me to an evening and it was already clear to me,” says Fuertes.
On his way there was a move, to the Madrid High Performance Center, in 2019, and a disappointment. Before the Tokyo 2020 Games, she was already prepared to be an Olympian, she already had the movements, she already had the experience, but the covid pandemic canceled a Pre-Olympic and she could not even apply for the position. So this time, at the first opportunity, at the European past in Krakow, bingo!
“If I won the bronze match, I had a ticket for Paris 2024 and in the second round I already knew I was winning. When I finished I started crying, I came down from the ring crying and I didn’t stop crying even when they interviewed me. It was very exciting”; he recounts her. I needed that rating. Because maybe it was her only chance to be an Olympian. Despite the ‘boom’ of recreational boxing, the sport is in crisis and does not make it to the Los Angeles 2028 Games. His federative troubles and the stigma of violence haunt him. “That vision must be changed, but it will not happen from one day to the next. We fight with protections and with great security. Boxing is not a fight in the street,” defends Fuertes, who believes that his sport can still return to the times when he created stars and filled pavilions. Not in vain, the evenings organized by River Llanos They are a hit year after year.