Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Mendoza has burst upon the USA Boxing scene and now she’s training at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the Elite Selection Camp to determine the Team USA roster for 2023.
Mendoza earned her spot at the Elite Selection Camp by capturing a gold medal in the featherweight division at the recent 2022 USA Boxing National Championships, in which she defeated 2022 Youth World Champion Yoseline Perez, 3-2, in their third head-to-head match during the semifinals of the championships before taking a unanimous decision victory over Daisy Bamberger in the finals. Perez had narrowly won their first two encounters. Her victories earned her the honor of being named the Elite Female Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament.
“I’ve been in a lot of big fights,” Mendoza said, “but this was the most memorable and hardest fight I’ve ever had. Our first two fights were close. I listened more to my corner this fight and my mind set was good. I had a lot of confidence going into this fight and I fought with more heart.”
Mendoza is competing with fellow U.S. Olympic-style boxers and 2022 High Performance Team members, Amelia Moore and Jajaira Gonzalez, for a spot on this year’s High Performance Team and the chance to represent Team USA at international competitions throughout the year.
Mendoza has been a winner since she started boxing in 2015 when she was 12. She has also captured gold medals in 2019 at the Youth National Championships, National PAL, Eastern Regional and Western Regional Championships. Alyssa has yet to compete internationally, with hopes of that changing this year. She was supposed to fight in Poland at the 2020 World Youth Championships, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the tournament.
Like so many young boxers, Mendoza fell in love with boxing soon after her first bout. Her older brother and sisters boxed at a local gym in Idaho, and Alyssa went there with them but only to play with other kids. One day, she decided to box and after her first bout, she never stopped.
Self-described as an adaptive boxer-puncher, Mendoza says that the way she fights depends on her opponent and adapting. If they box, she relentlessly pressures them; she stays back and boxes if her opponent is a brawler.
The gifted boxer from Caldwell, Idaho, Alyssa has her sights firmly set on representing the U.S. at the 2024 Olympic Summer Games in Paris. Her long-term goal is to turn pro but, unless she medals in Paris, she may remain in the amateurs.
“I may stay longer, depending on what happens in Paris,” she explained. “I want to have a good foundation before I go pro.”
Mendoza is excited to be boxing in this exciting era, in which women’s boxing is making great strides, planning to play a positive role for the next generation of female boxers.
“I feel that women’s boxing is not as big as men’s boxing right now,” she remarked, “but our time will come and we’re getting closer. I hope to part of that so more women will get into boxing. I really enjoy watching Claressa Shields (2-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA), Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, and Jessica McCaskill. They’re really good.”
The USA Boxing journey for Mendoza has literally changed her life, in and out of the ring.
“Boxing affects all areas…..physically, mentally, spiritually,” Mendoza concluded. “I credit boxing for making me a better person. Most of all from the discipline I’ve learned. I’m so fortunate to be in a sport that has helped make me a better all-around person, and I’m going to keep working hard to get better.”