EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Her list of accolades is already extensive, and now 17-year-old boxer Kayla Gomez is looking to add 2024 Olympian to her catalog.
“I’m humbly confident knowing that I will already be a champion,” she said. “I’m already seeing myself getting that number 1 spot.”
She’s the favorite to do so; standing at just over five feet tall, the El Paso teenager is currently the top-ranked Flyweight boxer, not only in the United States, but the world.
“She’s been everywhere, and everywhere she goes, the coaches are surprised,” said her coach and grandmother, Cindy Aceves. “They say, oh my god, who is this little girl?”
Gomez is currently in Colorado Springs, Colo., at USA Boxing’s training facility preparing for the Junior Pan American Games Qualifier later this month in Guadalajara, Mexico.
If she wins there, Gomez says she is automatically assured of a spot on the United States’ Olympic team for the 2024 Games in Paris, France.
“Just know I’m coming back with a gold medal. I’ll be the first El Pasoan to win the Pan American Games,” Gomez said.
She might be small, but she harbors a confidence that rivals the world’s greatest fighters. She’s trained with them too; Gomez was Marlen Esparza’s sparring partner for her recent title-winning bout at the Don Haskins Center in June.
“I don’t think about who they are or their accomplishments, I think about how hard I’ve worked. It pushes me to do better and confidently step in the ring knowing I’m an amazing fighter as well,” Gomez said.
She’s gotten the stamp of approval from the professional fighters she’s sparred with, too.
“Everyone we talk to, they tell her, ‘you’re going to be a world champion,’” said Aceves.
When she gets to the top of that mountain, she’ll have all of El Paso behind her.
“I can’t let anybody down. This is for my country, El Paso, and everyone that supported me,” Gomez said. “It gives me the energy and hunger to go after the gold medal.”
Gomez will compete at the Junior Pan American Games July 13-18 in Guadalajara.