Cruces teenager snares silver medal
By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
Her dad calls her “La Picosita” — The Feisty One — a perfect nickname for Las Cruces teenager Amy Salinas.
The 14-year-old won a silver medal in the United States Boxing Junior Olympics June 8 to 13, in Charleston, W.V., where she represented the Las Cruces Police Athletic League (PAL).
Salinas started watching her uncle, Jose Salinas, box at the PAL gym when she was 7. She put on the gloves for the first time a year later.
“I tried it and I liked it,” she said.
She said she is not bothered at all that she’s participating in a traditionally-male sport.
“Whatever boys can do, girls can do,” she said.
Salinas works out at the PAL gym five days a week, usually from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
“I’m always here,” she said.
She also runs about six miles on Sundays in the Organ Mountains. And, in addition to boxing, she plays volleyball and softball.
Salinas will be a freshman this fall at Oñate High School. Her favorite subject is language arts and she plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice and become a police officer — along with her dream of becoming a professional boxer.
Her most immediate goal: To make the U.S. Olympic boxing team.
Salinas’s silver medal goes along with her other boxing awards, including two title belts from the World Boxing Tournament.
The pugilist’s parents are Ben and Diana Salinas — both of whom give her a lot of encouragement, she said. She has seven brothers and sisters, including Vicente, another boxer, who will be a fifth grader this fall at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. Her uncle, Hugo Salinas, is her boxing coach.
“Amy is one of the hardest working individuals at the gym,” said PAL board Secretary and Public Information Officer Adrian Guzman. “She learned what it takes to be a winner from the long line of amateur and professional boxing champions that came before her at this gym. Amy now sets the example to the younger and older boxers of what hard work will get you.”
What does Salinas get out of boxing?
“I like the fact that I know how to protect myself if anything happens,” she said. “And I like the working out.”
Her best move, she said, is her left hook to the body. She said training with boys and men has been a great help to her.
“Once I get in the ring with girls, they don’t hit as hard,” she said.