World Qualification 2Alyssa MendozaBoxing News

Faith, Family and Going for History: The Story of Alyssa Mendoza

by Luke Santangelo

In the small city of Caldwell, Idaho, a 20-year-old boxer is emerging as a Team USA rising star and has dreams of not just making her name known but also bringing respect to her home state. Alyssa Mendoza is the youngest boxer on Team USA, and she is currently in Thailand, where she aims to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Mendoza has a dream and opportunity to be the first Olympic boxer from the state of Idaho. With an opportunity to qualify this May, Mendoza aspires to make her family proud of all the hard work she has put in.

“Being from Idaho challenged me,” Mendoza stated on possibly being the first Olympic boxer from Idaho. “Not many athletes come out of Idaho, and I always felt growing up it brought almost a disadvantage to have Idaho next to my name instead of like Texas or California.”
Alyssa Mendoza
Alyssa Mendoza World Qualification 1 (Photo by USA Boxing)

The young female boxer said her faith and family are how she was able to overcome any obstacle or challenge that was thrown her way. Mendoza has been going to a non-denominational Christian church since she was 10, trusting God and the ability to lean on him and her family is how she gets through any tough challenge.

“My dad is my biggest inspiration and my main motivation,” stated Alyssa. “My dad boxed and learned from his father and then he taught my siblings and myself. He told me I was a natural and all I tried to do was to make him proud and give him all my attention.”

Mendoza said one of the main attractions to the sport was hearing the pure sound of the gloves hitting the mitts. She explained hearing that noise growing up made her want to take the sport more seriously.

Mendoza had to work to get to where she is now. Her boxing career took a slight turn as she went 5-8 in 2018 and she had to look at herself and adjust.

“I was afraid to lose,” Mendoza stated. “I would go into the ring with fear of losing and not boxing to win. And boxing that way made me lose a lot.  

Mendoza continued to chip away at the national stage level and kept trusting in herself and God. It wasn’t until Golden Gloves in 2022 that she realized her skill and that the Olympics was a possibility.  She fought five times in six days and won the event but also won best female boxer of the tournament.

“I fought on my birthday during the Golden Gloves, and I remember winning and going straight to my room and praying.” A passionate Mendoza stated. “I felt like fighting on my birthday was a sign to me that I was born to do this and to be here in the spot I am today.”
Alyssa Mendoza

Mendoza carried that momentum into 2023 when  she made USA Boxing’s Elite High Performance Team and emerged as one of USA’s rising stars. Mendoza never fought internationally until her debut in 2023 at the 2023 Strandja Tournament. Mendoza went on to win bronze at Strandja,  silver at the 2023 Czech Republic Grand Prix, and bronze again at the 2023 Gee Bee International Tournament. Mendoza stated she is thankful for 2023 and the success she had, as it prepared her for the three Olympic Qualifier tournaments.

Mendoza was on a tear in 2023, however, she fell short in the 2023 Pan American Games and first World Qualification Tournament in 2024.

She was nearly dominant in her performances in Italy. She looked her best was stopping bouts and looked unstoppable. But she came up just short in the final fight which would have qualified her to Paris.  

Alyssa Mendoza Dominant Win In the World Qualifier Tournament (Photo by USA Boxing)

Mendoza since then has trained in Colorado Springs, Colo. at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in preparation for her last opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Her biggest adjustment from Italy to Thailand is that she is having more fun and going with the flow.

The time has now come for Alyssa to punch her ticket to Paris. The World Qualification tournament begins May 24 and goes until June 2, 2024. Mendoza will get Team USA started and face off against Bolortuul Tumurkhuyag from Mongolia in the first day of the competition. She will box sesssion two bout, bout one. Mendoza is ready to etch her name in the history books and be the first Olympic boxer from Idaho.

“I have trained and gave camp my all. When I am boxing my style and at the level I am capable of, I am hard to beat. I am ready to punch my ticket to Paris.”

Alyssa Mendoza Advancing to the Finals in Olympic World Qualification 1 (Photo by USA Boxing)