Local boxer named 2020 Tokyo Olympics alternate

Published: Mar. 1, 2020 at 11:06 PM CST
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A Madison woman is training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as an alternate for Team USA.

29-year-old Brianna Hendricks Che has only been in the boxing scene for three and a half years, but she credits her coach and her determination for already getting her this far.

"This is like the first time where I can just step into an environment and feel like it's where I'm supposed to be," Che said.

She knew from a young age she'd find purpose inside the ring

"I was around 7 years old. I was watching Tyson fight, and I said I really wanted to be a boxer," she said.

She said there weren't boxing opportunities in Iowa where she lived so she put her dream on hold. Until nearly two decades later, she followed her ambition to Madison and took a leap of faith into the boxing scene.

"It feels nice. It feels right. It's the first sport I've done that actually feels a part of me," Che said.

She did her research and found Ford’s gym and her future coach found her.

“Andrea introduced herself to me,” Che said.

"I just went over and said ‘hey do you have any interest in boxing’ and she said 'well yeah actually I do,'" Andrea Nelson, boxing coach said.

Che started training and immediately defied the odds by sparing earlier than normal and winning national competitions.

"She's very aggressive in the ring. She's really strong. She’s quick,” Nelson said.

She competed in the USA Boxing Olympic trials in Lake Charles, Louisiana in December. She got off to a rocky start and lost her first fight, but she said she wasn’t discouraged. She fought her way back to one of the top spots.

"You can't get that good this fast without having a strong work ethic and she definitely does," Nelson said. “You don't typically go to the Olympic level either. It's pretty amazing."

The training starts in the ring. Che spars day in and day out around the clock to make sure she stays at the top of her game.

"When I have a goal there's no excuse. I go hard. 100 percent all in,” Che said.

She said boxing is in her blood, and she’s a fighter in and out the ring.

"Yeah in life it's my mentality," she said.

She said even though she made it on Team USA as an alternate, she won't stop fighting until she’s the last one standing.

"I'm very ambitious and I love that I'm on Team USA but I won't be satisfied until I'm No.1,” she said.