Young boxer, Jesselyn Silva, known as “JessZilla,” is making a lot of positive waves lately. Quite a few people are talking about this breakout boxer because not only is she female, but she is also just 10 years old.
It’s no secret that women’s boxing has nowhere near the participants — nor the money or audience — that men’s boxing has. Broadcasters of the sport generally feature men; the Amateur International Boxing Association has gone so far as to encourage women to box in skirts. There simply is less demand, it seems, to watch girls who like to fight.
But Jesselyn boxes because she genuinely loves the sport. She’s only 10, and even though she says she’s dealt with unsupportive schoolmates, she has her eyes on the Olympics. Her odds are decent — it’s rare for girls to start boxing so young. Though more sign up with age, for now, she mostly spars with boys.
Beyond considering the challenges that Jesselyn will face navigating her way through a sport where her presence will generally be an anomaly, but she has definitely captivated people and found an audience
Jesslyn is being managed by her father, Pedro. In a recentlly published New York Times film, “Girl Boxer”, Pedro says that he wants his daughter’s boxing to end at a certain age, she begins arguing with him about the success she’s looking to have. All families navigate choices like these to some extent. It was clear to me that Jesselyn’s drive was fueled by the love and support of her father. It was also obvious that Pedro is a huge part of Jesselyn’s story, but in no way resembles those hovering “helicopter parents” we hear so much about today.