Tori “Sho Nuff’ Nelson is taking over the women’s boxing world, drawing on nearly a decade of experience and the strength and lessons of her family.
The 37-year-old welterweight boxer from Chase City, Va., has been throwing jabs, hooks and uppercuts since the age of 29 and has not looked back.
Nelson has three brothers, whom she credits with jump-starting her boxing instincts.
“I loved boxing and I’m the baby and only girl of three boys, so I did a lot of fighting,” Nelson told the AFRO.
Nelson’s father died when she was 21, and she said her mother and siblings have been her backbone.
“My mom and I…she is my rock and I couldn’t have made it without her,” Nelson said.
Nelson has found great success in her boxing career so far. With a record of 10-0-3, she has won the World Boxing Council and the Women’s International Boxing Federation middleweight belts, and the Women’s International Boxing Association welterweight belt.
Nelson said the late Joe Frazier was a role model for her boxing career, and said she tries to portray Frazier’s bobbing, weaving and aggressive attacks with her own style in the ring.
Although Nelson does not box full-time, she is a working, Christian mother of two. She said she wishes that she could turn to boxing full-time to provide for her children.
Although one of her biggest accomplishments is “being a three-time undefeated champion,” she said her boxing career has afforded her other opportunities.
“One of my biggest accomplishments is having the opportunity to speak to young people and let them know anything is possible with God,” Nelson said.
Nelson earned her nickname, taken from the movie “Dragon,” from her trainer, and it has stuck with her through a career in which she has met hurdles due to her gender.
“The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was being a woman in a male sport,” Nelson said. “No love.”
Nelson said she loves boxing, but also has plans for the future after her fighting career is over.
“I plan to open a gym to help the kids stay fit and get out of those video games, and to speak to younger people and let them know everything happens for a reason,” Nelson said. “Just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.”