Alexis Lavarine boxing her way to fame, recognition
At the age of 15, most young ladies are enjoying high school life, participating in school activities, events and extra-curricular activities. Some already have dreams and goals.
Alexis Lavarine is pursuing her dreams and is already on the fast-track to many of her goals. It may surprise you to know that those dreams and goals are in the rugged, rough-and-tumble sport of boxing. Those dreams and goals have a Tokyo flavor.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are in Tokyo, Japan. With the 15-year old’s rapid road to success, Alexis appears well on her way to realizing that dream.
She traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah December 3-9 to compete in the 2017 USA Boxing Elite, Youth and Junior National Open Championships.
She proceeded to win all of our bouts by unanimous decision and was crowned USA Amateur Boxing Champion for the second consecutive year in the 154-pound Open class. The plan is for Alexis to represent her country in Tokyo at 165 pounds in just over two years.
In all, Lavarine is a six-time national champion. She is a four-time Ringside World Champion, a Junior Olympian and a two-time Junior Open National Champion. Lavarine is currently the only representative on Team USA, male or female, for the second consecutive year.
When not boxing, Lavarine plays basketball for the Lady Bulldogs at Fontainebleau High School.
Long-time boxing promoter and trainer Les Bonano has served as an advisor for Lavarine and her father, David.
“She has a chance to be on the Olympic Team in 2020,” Bonano said. “She has won four or five national tournaments. She has been training at the Olympic Training Center. She is about to start training on an international level. They are preparing our boxers better now. It is a full-time profession for the Russians, the Cubans and Chinese. It has not been for us. They are at the top of their game.”
Alexis will next travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in March and July to compete against boxers from other countries both in the United States and abroad.
David Lavarine tried to discourage his daughter from pursuing the sweet science of pugilism when she expressed interest at the ripe old age of seven. He encouraged her to pursue other sports and to concentrate on classroom science, where she excels as a student in all subjects. Suffice it to say that his parental words of wisdom failed miserably.
“I pretty much told her she was crazy and not to do it,” Lavarine said. “She was good at basketball at a young age and very competitive. At first, I told her she would not box. Of course, my father was a boxer. We were always around the sport. We were very apprehensive about it. She watched boxing on television and got hooked. I brought her to see a show to try to discourage her but all it did was encourage her more. So much for that strategy!”
John Lavarine is a former Kenner and Jefferson Parish councilman who passed away in 2015. It was a blessing to know Big John, who served his city and parish in superb fashion. After his father’s passing, David moved his family to Mandeville from Kenner.
Once he failed at dissuading his daughter from pounding others, he began pounding the pavement to help her pursue her goals.
“When we saw in 2012 that females would be allowed to participate in boxing in the Olympics, it took off from there. Once we began bringing her to national tournaments in 2013 and 2014, it was over with it. She took to it so well. She’s just a winner. She just finds a way to win. It is amazing. It is a gift.”
USA Olympic boxing coach Billy Walsh is a big fan of Alexis.
“Coach Walsh is amazing,” Lavarine said. “He wants her to continue to grow. She was the youngest at 14-years-old on the team last year and she went unbeaten at camp. He wants her to try out at the 2019 Olympic Trials. Of course, we feel she may be able to play college basketball.”
Alexis is a good basketball player for veteran coach Mark Beason at Fontainebleau and has her own website.
“The sky is the limit for her,” Bonano said. “I have been around the boxing game for a long time and around the female boxing game and can spot those who are both dedicated and capable. She has the desire and the ability. That is the right combination.”
It is a pleasure to know David as well. He has been an outstanding school teacher, in many schools for many years. We were blessed to have him teach our son, Travis, at Christian Brothers School.
David continues to teach while trying to teach his daughter daily. He admits to being prejudiced but he is even more bullish on his daughter than others.
“She is a fighter,” Lavarine said. “That is appropriate, isn’t it? She had a severe respiratory infection as an infant and battled through it like nothing happened. She has battled through those who don’t like what she does. She has handled the family move well. She handles all of the travel well. She is a special young lady with a very special future. I truly believe she can be an Olympic champion.”
Alexis is focused on the goal.
“I want become a gold medalist in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” Alexis said.
With a supportive family, excellent training and coaching and a solid advisor, the goal is not far-fetched. In fact, it is attainable. In the vernacular of the sport she loves, Alexis has a puncher’s chance.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…