Female boxer, and Valley favorite Sulem Urbina-Soto had a roller coaster year in 2013, filled with sorrow after the death of her brother Alexis in September, to pure happiness after winning the gold medal at the Amateur Mexican National Championship in December.
She fights in honor of her late brother Alexis Urbina, an amateur boxer who won the 2013 USA Boxing Championships in his division last April in Spokane. Alexis would later pass away from injuries sustained in a home invasion at his home in Phoenix, cutting short the life of a role model young man.
As the newly crowned Amateur Mexican National Champion, Sulem will represent Mexico in the Central American Games later this year.
Her skill as a fighter has improved as of late, her power and movement made the difference at the Mexican Nationals, the intense training and dedication were evident.
Her dream and goal was to compete along side her brother at the 2016 Olympics, but sadly it is a dream she will pursue alone. She dedicates every fight to Alexis, raising her glove and her eyes to the heavens above to honor him after every fight.
Sulem says she has the will and strength to carry on because of her trainer and husband Andy Soto. He coached Alexis from a young age and taught him to win. She also said Andy did not allow her to give up after the death of Alexis, he made her laugh and motivated her to train harder than ever before. The two make a great team and have found a way to make it work.
For Sulem, her future looks bright in boxing, she will continue to fight in honor of Alexis. For both Sulem and Andy, the have managed to turn tragedy into triumph.