Brooke Cibrian originally wanted to do just one amateur boxing match. That was it. After months of training, she decided her one bout was enough. After that, she was able to cross it off her to-do list.
At the time, the 29-year-old from Palm Desert had no idea what was ahead.
Little did she know that in less than two years, she would be on her way to a first national championship and then a second national championship in a single game. She also never expected to eventually set her sights on the 2024 Olympics or a professional boxing career.
Cibrian said, “I never thought I could only fight once. I never thought of myself as a fighter—until now.”
Salvadoran-American Cibrian, who trains with Marcos Caballero at Lee Espinoza’s Coachella Valley Boxing Club in Coachella, won the USA Boxing National Champion in the 114-pound women’s 18+ division in Lubbock, Texas last month. I won the ship. She won the same division a year ago.
Cibrian, who now works remotely on the advertising side of The Wall Street Journal, is 16-1 as an amateur. If all goes well this year, her team’s plan is for her to represent El Salvador at her next Olympics or turn professional.
Cibrian has patterned a relentless “give you hell” style after former world champion and pound-for-pound champion Romain “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Like Chocolatito, Cibrian is about 5 feet 4 inches and makes up for his lack of size with a ton of punches and the power and accuracy behind those punches.
She’s one of the few winners of the event who hasn’t spent most of her life training in the ring, but at a time when women’s boxing is exploding in popularity, Cibrian is rising to prominence in the sport. Last April, the two women headlined the Madison Square Garden matchup card for the first time, and advance tickets sold out quickly. In October, her two other women sold out headlining matches at her O2 arena in London.
“It’s the perfect time for her,” Caballero said.
“I will take advantage of it”
Cibrian grew up in the town of Santa Clarita, near Los Angeles, and attended Rider University in New Jersey. After her college graduation, she lived in New York City for a while before returning to Southern California to get closer to her friends and family.
She met her fiancé, professional boxer Jose Zamora, at the 818 Boxing Club in San Fernando. Zamora, who likes Chocolatito and Caballero, is Nicaraguan and had ties to Caballero and Coachella gyms.
In early 2020, when boxing gyms around Los Angeles closed, Cibrian and Zamora began taking weekend trips to the Coachella Valley for training and sparring. The couple visited the Valley every weekend for two months, and Zamora got the chance to spar with Chocolatito and former world champion Andrew his Cancio.
“It was like a dream,” said Zamora.
However, a weekend trip to the canyon for gas, hotels, food, etc. would cost us about $500 a week, so we decided to pack up and move to the canyon permanently.
After a year of training, Cibrian made his amateur debut at Carson in April 2021. She won by unanimous decision. Cibrian said she will fight in El Salvador on February 23 and in Detroit on March 18.
Cibrian continues to work in digital advertising and said her colleagues and bosses knew she was boxing and supported it.
“It’s basically two lives,” Cibrian said. “One at noon, one at night”.
One of the things Cibrian believes has helped her in her career and helped her reach such heights in such a short period of time is that she has a trainer in Caballero and a second trainer in Zamora, who she lives with. That’s it.
“Boxing can be a lonely sport, but the team and their support meant a lot to me,” Cibrian said.
Zamora said that for the past two years, he has mostly focused his attention on his fiancée, but it’s worth watching her grow and have fun.
Caballero said most of the credit for that growth had to go to Cibrian listening because she was new to the sport, and her “unlimited” stamina and strong work ethic accelerated her growth. rice field.
“She will turn pro,” Caballero said. It’s a fun stage. “
Still, Cibrian says he doesn’t do sports just for fun. She still wants to see more of the world, but her goals in the ring have changed dramatically since she had her first match under her belt.
With boxing offering more opportunities for women, Cibrian doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon.
“Great timing,” Cibrian said.
Andrew John covers boxing in the Coachella Valley and beyond for The Desert Sun and USA Today Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.