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Paris Olympics 2024: Meet Jajaira Gonzalez

Paris Olympics 2024Paris Olympics 2024: Meet Jajaira Gonzalez

Jajaira Gonzalez, 26, is an American boxer. She is the first USA boxer to qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024. She also won the bronze medal in the 2023 Pan American Games in Boxing in the Women’s 60 kg category. Jajaira Gonzalez, native from Glendora, Calif.

Jajaira Gonzalez Qualifies for Paris Olympics 2024, Becomes First USA Boxer to Do So

On Sunday, October 25th, 2023, 26-year-old boxer Jajaira Gonzalez officially qualified for the Paris Olympics 2024 after winning her quarter-final match at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. With this monumental victory, Gonzalez became the first American boxer to qualify for the upcoming Summer Olympics.

After years of facing adversity in her boxing career, Gonzalez made a comeback by punching her ticket to the biggest boxing stage through a dominant 5-0 win against Uruguayan boxer Camila Paola Pineiro Muino in the women’s 60kg division.

By progressing to the semi-finals of the continental competition, the American boxer earned an automatic Paris Olympics berth as per the qualification rules.

Her comeback started with winning the Elite National Championships in 2021. She followed it up with a gold medal at the 2022 AMBC Elite Championships. Further success came at the 2023 Pan American Games, where she won bronze in her weight class before qualifying for Paris 2024.

Jajaira Gonzalez Grew Up In A Boxing Family

Jajaira Gonzalez, born on February 13, 1997, is a professional American boxer who developed her passion for the sport at a very young age. She was born in Glendora, California to parents Jose Gonzalez and Sofia Gonzalez.

Gonzalez comes from a large family of seven siblings – Jaylene, Joet, Jayson, Jonjaura, Jousce, and Jason. Out of them, four brothers are also involved in boxing. Her father Jose is her coach while her elder brother Joet also trains her. 20-year-old Jousce is a fellow Olympian. Another brother Jon Jairo actively competes as well.

Jajaira Gonzalez Childhood Boxing
Image: Baby Jajaira training with her father Jose Gonzalez (Source: USA Boxing)

Coming from a boxing family, Gonzalez was introduced to the sport in childhood. Her father started personally training her when she was just 8 years old. Consequently, she spent a considerable part of her early life traveling for tournaments while keeping up with schooling.

Gonzalez shares a close bond with her family. During tournaments, she is usually accompanied by her siblings and father. The family often gathers at a local gym for training and motivation.

Gonzalez credits her family’s unconditional involvement in her boxing journey as a key reason she prospered over the years.

“There’s no way I could get out of the sport, because we all do it and my dad is my coach,” Gonzalez said, underlining her deep-rooted family legacy in boxing.

Jajaira Gonzalez Dated Shakur Stevenson

Jajaira Gonzalez was previously in a serious relationship with professional boxer and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson for around 5 years. The two first met in 2013 during the Junior World Open. They started dating each other in 2016.

However, the relationship was disapproved by Jajaira’s father and coach Jose Gonzalez from the very start. He had set strict rules forbidding her to date anyone before the age of 27, wanting his daughter to stay completely focused on her boxing career.

Jajaira Gonzalez Ex-Boyfriend Shakur Stevenson
Image: Jajaira Gonzalez and Shakur Stevenson Relationship (Source: Talk Sport)

Due to her father’s hostility towards the relationship, Jajaira kept the affair hidden from him initially. But Jose eventually found out about it via social media, causing familial tensions.

Despite her father’s objections, Jajaira continued dating Stevenson for a few more years. But in 2021, she discovered that Stevenson was cheating on her with another woman named Michelle Ragston.

The boxer duo finally called it quits after being together for around 5 years since 2016.

Stevenson vs. Gonzalez

In 2019, rising boxing superstar Shakur Stevenson was ordered to fight Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO featherweight world title. Going into the match, Stevenson had a perfect 12-0 record and was the heavy favorite.

However, there was a major personal angle that added drama to the high-profile bout. Stevenson had been in a long-term relationship with Joet’s younger sister Jajaira Gonzalez, which her father and brother openly disapproved of.

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Consequently, when Stevenson and Joet stepped into the ring, there was already fierce tension and animosity between the two fighters over the controversial relationship.

When the bell rang, Stevenson showcased his superior skills and ring craft to comprehensively outbox Gonzalez. He won a lopsided unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the one-sided bout 119–109 in his favor.

After the fight, Stevenson attempted to bury the hatchet with Joet. However, reflecting the bitter personal feud, Gonzalez rebuffed his rival’s reconciliatory attempts.

Jajaira Gonzalez Boxing Career So Far

Jajaira Gonzalez developed a passion for boxing at the age of 8 when her father Jose Gonzalez first started coaching her.

Some major early career highlights include winning gold at the 2012 National Junior Olympics, 2013 USA Boxing National Championships, 2014 Youth Continental Championships, and even the 2014 Youth Olympics.

After the Youth Olympics glory, many tipped Gonzalez as a future star. She continued her rise by topping the 2016 USA Boxing National Championships and 2017 Eastern Qualifier.

However, after some difficult losses and personal problems, Gonzalez struggled with deteriorating mental health. As a result, she took an extended 4-year break from competitive boxing between 2018-2021.

But later Gonzalez overcame her health challenges to make a comeback. On her return in 2021, Gonzalez quickly regained top form by winning gold at the Elite National Championships. She carried the momentum into 2022 and delivered another gold medal performance at the AMBC Elite Championships.

After bronze at the 2023 Pan American Games, the 26-year-old is back as a top medal contender. By qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Jajaira Gonzalez Took a Break For Mental Well-being, Returned Stronger

In 2018, rising boxer Jajaira Gonzalez made the tough call to press pause on her boxing career citing mental health issues.

However, she took a lengthy four-year break from the sport she loved so dearly. The unfortunate timing of the COVID-19 pandemic further stalled her comeback plans.

During the extended break from competitive boxing, She attended regular therapy sessions to process her emotions healthily instead of bottling them up. The boxer also reconnected with her family and focused on low-pressure training with her father to rebuild her confidence.

By 2021, Gonzalez revealed that she returned as a changed fighter with an unbreakable spirit. She came to view past setbacks as fuel to perform better.

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“I returned with an elevated mindset. I used to let a lot of things get to me, instead of letting them motivate me. It made me hungrier, and angry but in a good way where I can implement that into the sport.

She said

“I’m a different fighter now. I fixed a lot of the mistakes that I used to make even though I was still winning, I’m a lot more technical now. I don’t just rush in and throw punches and look sloppy.

“Only I can beat me, but I can’t mess up this second chance. I have a very strong mindset and I’m very confident. I don’t feel like anyone can beat me, and I don’t feel like anyone is on my level.”

She added

Gonzalez stressed that she evolved into a more composed and tactical boxer who didn’t just wildly swing punches anymore.

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