By Debbie Gregory.
U.S. Army Private First Class Riana Rios is proving that she is “Army Strong,” both in uniform and in the boxing ring.
Rios is no newcomer to the sport. She won her first amateur state title when she was eleven years old. Rios then won the title again for the next six years straight, until she could no longer compete due to her enlistment in the Army when she was 18.
Last July, Rios won the National Women’s Golden Gloves Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.On March 27, 2015, Pfc. Rios won her ninth Golden Gloves belt, this time in the women’s 132-pound division at the 2015 Colorado Golden Gloves Championship.
Rios became a soldier to join the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), at Fort Carson, Colorado. Pfc. Rios sees the program as her best chance to vie for a spot to represent USA at the Olympic Games. She recently completed a five week strength and conditioning program with WCAP. She bulkedup from 125 to 140 pounds before cutting to her current competitive weight of 132 pounds, where she will compete for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing.
On her journey towards Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro, Rios has been supported by her family, friends, and her fellow service members. Despite being known as an individual sport, many boxers train in teams, sometimes called stables, with other boxers. WCAP functions to provide a team training environment for it warrior-athletes, with, of course, some military bearing, Army fortitude and teamwork thrown in.
But when she is in the ring, Rios is an “Army of One.” She has proved herself as a soldier and as a boxer, and we look forward to seeing “Rios in Rio” as Pfc. Rios inches closer to Olympic contention.
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Military Connection: ‘Army Strong’ Boxer Eyes Olympic Gold: By Debbie Gregory