Gracce Kelly Flores, the Bolivian girl dreaming of boxing glory | Latin America News
Twelve-year-old Gracce Kelly Flores wakes up early most days in her adobe home and sets off running along dusty paths through the thin mountain air above Palca in Bolivia.
Her plan to become a professional boxer has hit a lull now that the coronavirus pandemic has halted all competitions.
The schools are closed due to a surge in COVID cases but she is still training, usually three hours a day.
Flores adopted the nickname “Hand of Stone” because she says “I like to hit hard”.
She says she has never lost any of the two-minute bouts to which children are limited.
“I keep training so I don’t forget the techniques for my next fight, which I hope will be when [pandemic restrictions] are lifted,” she said.
Flores has been trained for the past six years by her father Alberto Flores.
The 54-year-old former amateur boxer raises rabbits alongside the family’s blue-painted kitchen-dining room-bedroom in one. She helps tend the rabbits after her training and her online homework.
“My dream is to reach the big leagues and turn 18 so I can fight with Jennifer Salinas, my favourite Bolivian boxer,” she said, though the former world super bantamweight champ known as “The Bolivian Queen” may be past fighting age by that time.