Stacia Suttles Quick Rise to the Top
Bronx, New York native Stacia Suttles began her first year on the High Performance Squad in stunning fashion. After winning her first international title in her debut at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria, she was also awarded the coveted Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award. Suttles' first international title came fast, a boxer who only picked up the sport in January of 2014.
“I had just come home from my freshman year of college and I wasn’t doing anything with my time except working retail,” said Suttles. “My whole life I had played a sport such as karate, taekwondo, basketball and more.”
What began as trying something new and a way to get into shape, turned into training nearly six times a week in a matter of months.
In 2015, she entered the NY Daily News Golden Gloves to see how she could stack up against the fierce competition. She quickly found out that she performed better than expected and made it to event finals which granted her the exciting opportunity to box in the Barclays Center. While she came up short of gold, the loss motivated her to train harder and continue competing.
Fast forward to December 2016, Stacia saw herself competing in the finals of the USA Boxing Elite National Championships in Kansas City. After taking a 3-2 win in her opening bout and an unanimous victory in the semifinals, Suttles won her first USA Boxing national title with a 4-1 decision.
The victory landed her a place on the Elite Women’s High Performance Squad, and the chance to represent Team USA in every boxer's dream - international competition.
In her three year anniversary from picking up the sport, Suttles got the opportunity to train in Colorado Springs for the first time.
“It was a good experience training along other elite athletes and at an elite training facility,” stated Suttles. “It was nice not having any distractions, so I can focus on training and improving.”
Training in Colorado Springs is a whole new environment from a boxers' home gym.
“We were training three times a day, and back home I trained only two times a day with a morning run and then boxing,” Suttles said.
While in Colorado Springs she was also forced to focus on strength and conditioning, adjusting to the altitude, waking up early and saying no to free desserts everyday.
“The hardest part was waking up early, because I am not a morning person.”
When she arrived to training camp, it was also her first opportunty to be immersed in a Multi Nation Training Camp. On just her second day in camp, Suttles had the opportunity to spar with Great Britain’s top female boxer.
“It was a bit tough for me getting used to the altitude and camp in general, but I weathered through it and did the best I could.”
Following her shot in Colorado, Suttles was given the opportunity to take part in another first - the chance to box in an international tournament.
“My goals going into Stradja were to at least get past one fight,” said Suttles. “I honestly would have been happy with just one win because of the experience, especially with it being my first international tournament.”
After receiving advice from both her teammates and the coaching staff, Stacia came away with the gold medal in the light welterweight division, as well as the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award.
“It felt amazing! I was nervous before my first fight, but once I got to the semifinals and finals I wasn't nervous at all.”
Winning the gold medal in her first international tournament has given Suttles a necessary boost confidence and has opened her eyes to her potential, which was seen by the national team coaching staff, as well as her personal coach, Lupin Guzman.
“I think the coaches were impressed with my performance, as well as my potential. They were happy to see me get better from one fight to the next,” mentioned Suttles. “Personally, I feel I did well at the tournament, but of course there is always room for improvement.”
She will continue that improvement throughout the year with more training at her home gym and at camps in Colorado before heading to this year’s Continental Championships and 2017 USA Boxing National Championships. With her current success, Stacia looks to continue having strong showings for herself and Team USA in the months and years to come.
“My goals for 2017 are to continue to improve and learn daily, inspire others and win USA Nationals again in December.”