This is it.
For Rianna Rios, all the years of boxing, sacrificing, running and relentlessly working out have come down to this — a shot at winning a spot on the USA Olympic Boxing team and representing the US at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Rios, a 2013 graduate of Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco High School and Ben Bolt Boxing Club’s prized pupil, is fighting in the 132-pound lightweight division in the US Olympic Women’s Boxing Trials this week in Memphis, Tenn.
Rios, 21, is a Private First Class in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program in Colorado Springs. While training with the Army, Rios has added to her resume, including a national Golden Gloves championship earlier this year. This summer, Rios earned a spot in the Trials by winning at the Pathway To Glory boxing event in Colorado Springs.
Rios is facing a talented pool fighters at the Olympic Trials, including two USA Boxing national champions in Mikaela Mayer of Los Angeles and Lisa Porter of Van Nuys, Calif. All together, the fighters Rios could face in the Trials pose a stern challenge, but it’s one she says she’s ready for.
“You know, I’m nervous, anxious and excited,” Rios said. “I’m all of those at once. I’ve been working for this for so long, including the last two years with my Army team. This is really an exciting time in my life. Win or lose, it’s been a great experience and great opportunity.”
The outcome of the trials could also determine on what path Rios’ next few years take. She can continue her Army boxing career or begin focusing on her career as an Army engineer. Obviously, with an impressive performance, Rios’ boxing career with the Army program will likely continue.
“I believe I’m in the best shape I can be — physically and mentally,” she said. “I have the best training me, and I also have the best team behind me and a great family supporting me.”
The Cook Convention Center is the site of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Boxing Trials. Women’s boxing made its debut during the 2012 Olympic Games. Cook Convention Center will also host a qualifying event for the men’s boxing team as well. A total of 500 boxers will be competing during the events.