This is the thirteenth profile in our Society Nine Storytellers
series where badass female fighters across all sports, media and culture in our community share their definitions of femininity, strength and empowerment and discuss what they fight for.
Have a story to tell? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
– tell us who you are, a little bit about your journey and what you fight for – in life and sport.
My name is Andrea Gurecki, I am 31 years old and was born, raised and reside in the Boston, Massachusetts area. I’ve always been an athlete. However, growing up in middle class city burb my sports tended to be more team oriented such as baseball, softball and field hockey. I even went on to play lacrosse for a NCAA D.II University. I began boxing at the age of 23 when I was working for a team of high powered attorneys and real estate professionals.
It became quite the game changer from my life of books, sport excused classes and sleep. I started off like any other “older” newbie into the sport by taking fighter conditioning classes, moving along to mitts with a trainer who would over time be a life long friend and then eventually getting wrapped up into tagging along for Thursday night fight nights at a local club.
Looking back on the past eight years I cant believe what a struggle it was to actually get from point A (local sports and fitness enthusiast) to point B (a fighter). My blonde hair, blue eyes and extreme femininity (for once in my life) really worked as a disadvantage; I felt as though I wasn’t taken seriously the countless times I asked to do a smoker or get trained for a real fight. It wasn’t much long after I realized sometimes you cant ask, you just have to take, despite all the negativity that would come along with it.
At age 30, I was living a different life as 23 year old me. A year ago I had and still do have the mentality that I can do anything I want in life. I can change careers, I can be friends with all types of people, I can see the positive in every situation, I can change careers again. I had just turned 30 when I had learned of a boxing charity event called Haymakers for Hope ‘Belles of the Brawl’, which benefits cancer research by literally knocking out cancer
. If you’ve never stepped in the ring for a sanctioned boxing bout, then you are able to participate by reading my story. Participants usually enter into this event with a story and a loaded gun full of willing donators that you and the person you are fighting in honor of have spiritually touched in some way. My story is a very near and dear one and with it I was picked to fight in the event.
With a heavy heart I was more than happy & appreciative to announce the opportunity to fight in honor of an incredible woman by the name of Bella “Bunny” Hayes
. Opportunities arise out of times of crisis, so it seems. In the early 2000’s Bunny had a masectomy with a small amount of treatment to prevent the inevitable after pre-cancerous cells were found. In February 2012 Bunny was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma; August 2013 she was said to be cancer free & as of December 2013 the cancer had spread to her spine, spleen & lungs. At the time she had been given six months to a year of life left.
Bunny is the mother of one my nearest, dearest and greatest friends, Eileen Hayes. For some reason, she’s been a really big fan of me so of course I had to show her, the best I could, what she means to me (Ya know, by trying to beat some one up… clearly, I was leaning towards solid attributes). Bunny was a really unique soul that put everybody else in front of her so when I had told her I was going to do it in Bunny’s honor it was like I told her Barbara Walters wanted to do an interview with her on live television. This event meant everything to her in the sense that she knew her time was limited and it was a distraction that brought the issue to the attention of others, inevitably bringing those she was going to leave behind closer together.
She was right though, the night of the fight separated real friends from fake friends and made me realize what was important in my life. It reassured me that win or lose, I actually conquered so many things in such a short amount of time. I felt like I did something for somebody.. like really really did something. I gave somebody hope.
On October 2nd, her husband, son and daughter along with my entire family, my college friends, my high school friends, my gym friends, and about 1,500 other folks watched me follow through with it all. I say win or lose, it didn’t matter; but it sure did feel good to see the win box checked on my USA boxing passbook.
And that, my friends, is what started my competition fire. Bunny. Bunny died exactly one month before the fight. There was an underlying passion that was uprooted during training for Haymakers for Hope and that was training to compete and competing in itself.
I wanted to have done personally better for myself. I carried the next few months post fight to train for a nationally known competition at a local level called the New England Golden Gloves
in Lowell, Massachusetts starting January 15th, 2015. Everybody in the area knows of the competition and I grew up holding the utmost honor for the people that fought in it. Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler & Micky Ward all started their careers in the New England Golden Gloves.
My father used to bring me to the fights as a child, heck he brought me in 2014. Needless to say the thought of me fighting in this competition was a little bit beyond the scope I had planned for myself.
I was lucky enough to have 5 girls in my 125lb Novice Division. I was able to have three fights over the course of three weeks. In my preliminary fight I walked away with a first round TKO, Semi-Finals a split decision W and in finals a respectfully took the L.
I’ll be back next year. Having the competition being only two short weeks ago I am currently training for a handful of smoke bouts for local St. Patrick Day events as well as weighing my options out for Spring or Summer cards. I’m going to be a stronger fighter because of that L.
is a Real Estate Leasing Professional and an Amateur Boxer in the 125lb novice division out of Boston, MA. She was a finalist in the 2015 Central New England Golden Glove Championship and is current training for an upcoming fight in the Spring. She enjoys spending as much time as she can with her family, participating in road races, perusing the cheese counter at Whole Foods and being a positive and active member in her local communities whether it be through youth athletics, charities or social events. Photos provided by Andrea Gurecki