Seemingly out of nowhere, Las Cruces amateur boxer Samantha Ginithan blazed her way to a Golden Gloves national title last weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
With virtually no prior footprint in the sport, Ginithan won three bouts in Tulsa by decision, against far more experienced opponents, to take the 146-pound title belt. She’s the first New Mexico woman to win a Golden Gloves title.
So, who is she?
Well, as the late actor Vince Edwards said after suddenly becoming a household name while starring in a 1960s medical drama, “I’m an 11-year overnight sensation.”
So it is for Ginithan, 32 – a lifelong athlete with a strong background in combat sports.
Was she surprised at her success in Tulsa?
“I think normally you’d say yes,” she said in a phone interview, “but I’ve been working at this for a very long time.”
Born in Las Cruces, Ginithan moved with her family to the Dallas area when she was 9 or so. She played basketball at Hillcrest and North Garland high schools.
Ginithan returned to New Mexico to study and play basketball at the College of the Southwest in Hobbs.
“At some point,” she said, “basketball came to an end. Then I found judo and martial arts, and now here we are boxing in the Golden Gloves, becoming a national champion.”
After college, Ginithan lived for a time in Phoenix but then came home to Las Cruces. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from NMSU, coached basketball at Oñate (now Organ Mountain) High School and competed as an amateur in MMA.
She now works as a provisioning clerk for Electronic Caregiver, a Las Cruces health technology firm.
Of combining a full-time job with training for the ring, she said, “It’s been nonstop, but it’s just a part of me now.”
For her sudden rise as a boxer, she credits Las Cruces coach Rene Carrasco and his daughter Ariana, a highly decorated amateur.
“I’m part of a great boxing team and a great company,” she said. “… I’ve been blessed.”
As for her boxing future, Ginithan plans to continue as an amateur for now.
“If we reach 15 fights and have really good results, we’re going to go pro after that,” she said. But she hasn’t ruled out a professional MMA career.
“I couldn’t say which sport would have my heart more,” she said. “… I really think it’s about 50-50.
“But boxing has been good to me lately.”
And she to it. Ginithan’s victory in Tulsa helped secure a title, as well, for a team representing Colorado and New Mexico at nationals.
Ginithan and Colorado’s Naomi Graham (165 pounds) were Colorado-New Mexico’s only individual champions, but three Colorado boxers were runners-up. New Mexico heavyweight Lorenzo Neal made it to the semifinals before losing by split (3-2) decision to eventual champion Eric Ross of Chicago.
THREE TO SLC: New Mexico boxers Katherine Lindenmuth (2-0), Lorenzo Benavidez (3-4-1) and Manuel Eastman (3-7-1) have signed to fight on a professional card in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17.
Lindenmuth is matched against a fellow unbeaten, Yadira Bustillos (5-0) from North Las Vegas, Nevada.
Benavidez is matched against Damarian Kelly (4-4, three KOs) of Casper, Wyoming in a light heavyweight bout. Eastman is scheduled to face Salt Lake City heavyweight Bishop Le’i (3-0, three KOs).
GUERO RETURNS: Albuquerque pro boxer Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez (11-2-1, four KOs) is scheduled to face unbeaten prospect Jahi Tucker (8-0, five KOs) in an eight-round welterweight bout Sept. 23 on a Top Rank, Inc., card in Newark, New Jersey.
The card, headlined by Shakur Stevenson’s defense of his WBC and WBO junior lightweight titles against Robson Conceicao, is scheduled to be telecast on ESPN.
Sanchez likely represents the toughest test thus far in the pro ranks for Tucker, a Top Rank contract fighter and a junior national champion as an amateur.