Nelson leads fighters to Golden Gloves

The number of female boxers is a fraction of their male counterparts. The number of female boxing coaches is even less. That doesn’t bother Andrea Nelson. She’s a former professional fighter-turned coach who’s training some of the best fighters in the state- and the country.

“I don’t think of myself as a woman. I think of myself as a boxer and a coach,” Nelson said. “When I go to national tournaments I struggle a little bit. I have to show by my actions and by my boxers that I know what I’m doing.”

Nelson’s built her reputation by training winners. Briana Hendricks Che’s one of Nelson’s best fighters. She’s only been boxing seriously for two years, and she’s already ranked fourth in the country in her weight class.

“I’m pretty determined when it comes to athletics,” said Hendricks Che- a former college soccer player and hammer thrower. “Boxing is the hardest sport I’ve ever competed in. It’s really cool to see the growth.”

Now Briana’s focus is shifting to the 2020 Olympic Trials. “Olympics, yeah definitely. That’s always been my goal, and to be on Team USA.”

Nelson also coaches 2016 Wisconsin Golden Gloves champion Marcus Johnson. Johnson’s going a second win this year, and he thinks he has the right coach for the job.

“She can pay attention and make sure we’re doing what we need to do,” Johnson said with a grin. “And if you’re not doing what you need to do, it will show. It will show very fast.”

Nelson and her fighters are proof that gender doesn’t matter if you’re willing to put in the work “They come to the gym, and I have enough people around me that have been training with me for long enough that I kind of show the new people that I know what I’m talking about.”

The Wisconsin Golden Gloves tournament takes place at the Marriott West/Madison, March 15-16th.

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