Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Bertha Aracil, one of two women from New York City who qualified to go to the first ever Olympic Trials for Women’s Boxing. Bertha was raised in the Bronx and currently lives in Yonkers. When we were talking about where she grew up the words, “New York City is my hometown” resinated in the small women’s locker room we were speaking in at her gym, D.A.S. Fitness Center. I soldiered my way up to Inwood/Washington Heights, where the gym is located, and was greeted with gym personnel and members who knew exactly who I was talking about when I said, “Is Bertha here?”
Our interview went on for about an hour when I reluctantly had to leave. While we were speaking she was all smiles and if I hadn’t known just how tough she really was, I would never have guessed she was one hell of a badass. But when she started training the tone changed and her demeanor became that of a woman on a mission. Bertha is the first woman boxer I have interviewed in the time that I have been shooting fighters and their matches, and she truly gave me a new level of respect for the ability to channel one’s energy and become a warrior in the ring.
Write up and photos by Natalie Marcoux