FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
DS: Hi! I’m Dara Shen. I have been boxing for about 8 years and have competed at the Olympic Trials, World Championships, and will be representing Taiwan in the Asian Games coming up Sept 19 – Oct 4. I’ve been a member of Team USA and am currently on the Taiwanese National Team, also known as Chinese Taipei. I was an alternate for the 2012 London Games. My ultimate goal is to win Olympic Gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
FFFC: How did you get interested and started in boxing?
DS: I joined a recreational club while attending Virginia Tech. I had just broken up with my then boyfriend, and found so much extra time and *cough* pent up energy! So I decided to try it to get some frustration out and get back in shape. After a few months I was introduced to the competitive side of boxing and I fell in love.
FFFC: Did/do you participate in other sports?
DS: I played other sports in high school – volleyball, soccer, and track. I was not a standout athlete in any of those sports because I had no idea how to tap into my drive. I was just… there. I went to four different high schools and playing sports was my way of trying to fit in.
FFFC: Who do you spar with?
DS: In my area I’m blessed to have other talented and driven female boxers to spar with. Tori Nelson, Franchon Crews, my teammate Iesha Kenney, and a newcomer Shaniqua Jones – watch out for her. Sparring with girls is a treat, since we have to travel to make it happen. So on a regular night I’ll spar with the guys at my gym.
FFFC: Have you had an official match and if so, how did it go?
DS: I think I’ve had somewhere between 25-30. I’ve had my good days and my bad, and most importantly have learned and grown from all of them. My next will be in Incheon, Korea at the Asian Games, and then the World Championships in Jeju, Korea in November.
FFFC: What do you like most and least about boxing?
DS: Oh wow, it’s so hard to pick one thing I like about boxing! But I would have to say, that one of the things I love most is that there are so many parallels between boxing and life. Learning not to let your opponent dictacte your fight. Pushing yourself when your gas tank is on E. Be in control of yourself at all times. And hmm.. my least favorite part about boxing is most definitely making weight!
FFFC: What is your training program like?
DS: Right now I’m in camp getting ready for competition. Every morning we meet up at 6:30am, go for a 20 minute walk, have breakfast at 7:00am. Rest, then practice at 9am—strength and conditioning. Shower, recovery, and then lunch at 12pm. Then my favorite part of the day.. NAPTIME!! Haha. Rest usually between about 1-3pm and then practice again at 4pm – skills and or sparring. Dinner at 6:30pm and then depending on what we are doing we might practice again at 8:30pm.
When I’m not in camp I work 9 to 5 and train from 6 to 9 in the evenings. Depeding on what we are doing I may train from 6 to 8 in the morning also.
FFFC: What would you say is the biggest misconception about females in this sport?
DS: Biggest misconception is the image of females in this sport. I cannot say how many times the first reaction I get when people find out I box, is that I don’t look like a boxer. So I usually respond with, “What’s a female boxer supposed to look like?” The truth is, we come in all different shapes, sizes and colors and are probably the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
FFFC: What do you admire most about your physique?
DS: I love just being able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. The body that looks back at me is a product of hard work and dedication and I love looking at it 🙂 .. Oh and my legs.. I love them the most.
FFFC: What general tips do you have for other women interested in getting started with boxing?
DS: Don’t hold yourself back, just do it! Boxing is not all about getting punched or punching someone in the face. I think that’s the biggest fear that other women have.
FFFC: What is your daily diet (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)?
DS: When I’m in camp we have food in the dining facilities. But when I’m on my own I like to have oatmeal for breakfast – either in a smoothie (banana or blueberry + raw oats + almond milk) or by itself with milk and honey. I’ll usually have a salad or balanced meal for lunch and then a snack around 3pm. After practice I like to have coconut water and protein to recover.
FFFC: Who are some of your inspirations in this sport?
DS: A couple of girls on the international amateur scene whom I really admire are Katie Taylor from Ireland and Mary Kom from India. Katie Taylor is so skilled and precise in the ring, and so sweet in person. And Mary Kom has an amazing story—mother of 3, Olympic Bronze medalist, and very skilled fighter. I like to look to my former Team USA teammates for inspiration too. They are familiar with the barriers we have overcome as women in the sport of boxing and me seeing them compete and excel is motivational also.
FFFC: Do you have any upcoming matches or events? Tell us all about it.
DS: Yes! I’m pumped and ready to compete in the Asian Games. It’s a huge competition featuring 13,000 athletes from 45 countries. It will be televised throughout Asia, and I’m looking for a web link to watch the stream online.
FFFC: How can our readers learn more about the services you have to offer?
DS: I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – pick your poison! Haha
FFFC: Where can I our readers find you on the web and read more about what you do?
DS: I’m working on getting an official website up. Until then the best way to follow me will be on social media.
If you need to get caught up in the series, don’t fret – they are all here ready for YOU to click and be amazed!! If you love this series as much as I do, show these women some love & support by reading their articles and leaving an encouraging comment!