By: Sean Crose
“I’m hungry at the moment,” Sulem Urbina tells me. “I haven’t eaten yet, but I’m excited for tomorrow might.” It’s Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday evening, Urbina will be busy plying her trade – that trade being professional boxing. Her opponent at Broadway’s Sony Hall will be Indeya Smith, who Urbina will be battling in a scheduled super flyweight 8 rounder. This will be Urbina’s very first fight in New York, which offers the 13-2-1 fighter the chance to make new fans. “It’s huge for me to be here in this state,” she says. “It’s a dream come true.”
Although fighters who want to have successful careers must always be looking at the big picture, Urbina realizes she must also be focused on the opponent before her, that opponent presently being Smith, “She’s very strong,” Urbana says of Smith. “She comes forward very aggressive and she always comes to fight.” Urbana too comes to fight. In fact, she fights far more than most boxers – or at least most notable boxers – in the contemporary fight scene. “I had about five fights all through this year,” she says, adding that she’d like to have another five fights in 2023. In an era where the most popular boxers are apt to fight once a year – twice at the most – such ambition stands out.
Standing out, however, is how one succeeds in boxing. And indeed, Urbana likes to show different aspects of her life on her active Twitter account. “When I fight, I’m a boxer, and I go in there and I work,” she says, “but outside the ring I like being feminine.” Urbana appears to instinctively understand that, although ring skill is first and foremost for a fighter, likeability can also go a long way. “I think I’m just a very friendly person,” she says, a fact evidenced by the easygoing nature of our brief conversation. “I hope I make some new fans tomorrow night.”
Having been a pro for over six years now, Urbana has outlasted those who first led her to the sport to begin with. “I have four brothers,” she says. “I just wanted to show that I was tough like my brothers.” Therefore, when her siblings took up boxing, Urbana went ahead and took up boxing herself. Unlike her brothers, however, Urbana decided she would stick with the sport for the long haul. It’s a strategy that has thus far served her rather well.
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