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Salinas continues comeback!

Story by Gary "Digital" Williams
Photo by Mike Greenhill

The life and boxing career of Manassas, Va. featherweight Jennifer "The Bolivian Queen" Salinas has criss-crossed the United States and two continents.

For two years, her career was on hiatus when she stopped boxing to have her second child.

But now, Salinas (10-1, 4 KOs) continues her boxing career with her second bout since 2006 when she faces Caitlin Dance of Louisville, KY (2-5, 1 KO) in a six-round bout on Saturday, September 26 at the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.

The 27-year-old Salinas was born in Alexandria, VA but her family moved to her father’s home country of Bolivia. In high school, Salinas and her family settled in Grand Rapids, MI where Salinas joined the high school wrestling team. Salinas, wrestling primarily against boys, placed fourth in the state.

It was in Grand Rapids where Salinas eventually caught the boxing bug and she soon became affiliated with one of the leading family names of the sport who just happened to live in Grand Rapids – The Mayweather Family. Floyd Mayweather, Sr. became Salinas’s trainer.

“I had been fighting in Michigan and just before I was getting ready to fight in Las Vegas and he asked me whether I wanted to train with him and he would make me the world champion,” said Salinas. “It was crazy. I left my family -- my daughter was three months old – and went to Vegas.”

The attempt didn’t go well for Salinas as she suffered her lone defeat – a four-round unanimous decision loss to Heather Percival in Laughlin, NV in March of 2005. Salinas suffered a broken hand in the process.

“That showed that it wasn’t my time,” Salinas said. “I wasn’t really ready yet.”

Salinas returned to Virginia and eventually became a trainer for a prominent health club chain. It was there where the desire to box again almost engulfed her.

“I was depressed [not boxing],” Salinas said. “I would watch girls on TV and they had a lot of potential, but I knew I was better than them. I realized that female boxing was picking up just when I decided to lay back and I just kept feeling that I had to go back. I’m at work and I see the bags and people sparring in front of me and I just felt I had to go back in the ring. “Once I started training again, my whole life changed and I was a happier person. That’s why I wanted to give boxing another try.”

Salinas’s first bout after her two-year hiatus was on the last Patriot Center card on May 2. Salinas scored a third-round TKO over Christina Leadbeater. Salinas said she was very nervous in the first round of the contest.

“I had a lot of family and friends there and I had to settle down and come back to the basics,” Salinas said. Once I did, I knocked her out.”

Now, Salinas said she looks forward to her contest against Dance on September 26. “I hope she’s not training as hard as I am, because if she is, we’re going to throw down that night.”

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