As Jazmin Sigvenza had her arm raised in victory Thursday night at the Women's National Golden Gloves, her mother, Diane, was raising the arms of Jazmin's son 13-month-old son Darshawn, repeatedly putting his tiny hands together to give his mother some deserved applause.
After Sigvenza had showered and cooled off from winning the second fight since giving birth in June 1999, she retreated to the May Park bleachers, clutched Darshawn, planted a big kiss on his cheek and began bouncing him on her right leg.
"I don't know if he knows what I'm doing, but whenever someone starts trying to teach me something and showing me what to do, he always gets wild and stuff," said Sigvenza, 18, of Chico, Calif.
"When he gets old enough, I'll let him know what I'm doing. I want him to box but to play other sports, too."
Then there's the life of the show, Malachi Garcia-Hinman, who is covered in copper hair the color of a shiny penny, a couple of precious wide-eyed baby blues and the rosiest of cheeks.
Malachi, all 14 pounds and 8 months of him sitting on his mother's lap, tends to attract the biggest audience at May Park, whether he's eating crackers or drooling.
"I've gotten so many offers to baby-sit," says Malachi's mother, boxer Amparo Garcia, who has her first fight in the 100-pound class tonight. "I think a lot of people just want to hold him while I fight."
Both Sigvenza and Garcia consider themselves boxers who happen to be mothers of infants. Garcia won bronze at the 1997 Women's Nationals in Augusta; Sigvenza gold as a junior in 1998.
"When I first heard I was pregnant, all I could think about was when could I get back to boxing," said Sigvenza, who lost the 25 pounds she gained quickly and is a semifinalist in the 119-pound division.
"I wanted to come back and show everyone that thought I couldn't be a mother and a boxer that you can do both."
Darshawn and his brownish-blonde curls also appear to be popular inside May Park, waving to strangers and making the sounds that babies who can not yet speak make.
Said Tom Moraetes, director of Augusta Boxing Club and the Golden Gloves' local organizer: "I've never seen a man or woman ever carry their babies to weigh-in. That's just another thing that makes these women so special."
Garcia's story may be difficult to believe. The Milwaukee native who now resides in St. Paul, Minn., needed about three months to answer a newspaper ad from a local gym willing to train women in boxing. Once she did, she was hooked.
She was preparing for the 1999 Women's Nationals in Scranton, Pa., when a test changed her life.
That happened to be the first year that USA Boxing required women to undergo a pregnancy test as part of their physical. Women are now asked to sign a waiver attesting that they're not pregnant.
"I saw the lady's face that gave me the test, and I knew," said Garcia, 24, an assistant teacher of autistic children. "So she had me tested again to make sure, and again, the line came up pink. I wasn't that surprised."
There would be no tournament for Garcia, as she discovered she was three weeks' pregnant. Training for amateur tournaments immediately ceased.
"I called my boyfriend, who is now my fiance. I called him at work and told him to sit down because he was going to be a daddy," Garcia said as Malachi chewed on a cracker in her lap.
"I never thought I would give up boxing, because I want to see if I can make it to the Olympics. But definitely, boxing takes a backseat to being a mother."
Eight weeks after giving birth, Garcia had a fight as part of a Golden Gloves show in Bloomington, Minn. The woman she's fighting tonight, Heather Curtis of Iowa, met Garcia, started making faces and baby-talking to Malachi.
And midway through Thursday's 24-fight card, Garcia sat atop the fold-out bleachers, cradling a sleeping Malachi.
"This is a little too much for him," Garcia said.
Asked whether she wouldn't mind seeing him grow up to be a boxer himself, Garcia is quick with her no.
"This is my baby, and I don't want to see him get hurt," she said.
Second day results
Monay Mincy (Queens, N.Y.) def. Mandie Mutigli (Canton, Ohio), 5-0.
Vaia Zaganas (Burnaby, British Columbia) def. Katie Robinson (Knoxville, Tenn.), referee stops contest, round 1.
Jessica Flaharty (Conestoga, Pa.) def. Marianne Chubirka (Davie, Fla.), 3-2.
Rosalie Parker (New York) def. Paula Calderon (Goshen, Ind.), referee stops contest, round 1.
Deborah Stein (New York) def. Tracy Kuschel (Omaha, Neb.), referee stops contest, round 3.
Anju Reejhsinghani (Seattle) def. Christy Lindsey (Carrollton, Ga.), 3-2.
Julia Day (Lexington, Ky.) def. Christy Slone (Athens, Ga.), 5-0.
Jazmin Sigvenza (Chico, Calif.) def. Jennifer Kuchta (New Orleans), 5-0.
Wendy Broad (Montreal) def. Jessica Fournier (Biloxi, Miss.), referee stops contest, round 3.
Renee Richardt (Kansas City, Mo.) def. Candi Sarver (Hastings, Mich.), 3-2.
Stella Nijhof (New York) def. Christa Hoffman (Muncie, Ind.), 5-0.
Teresa O'Toole (Wilmington, N.C.) def. Gladys Alonso (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 5-0.
Trisha Hill (Kennesaw, Ga.) def. Jennie Puga (San Antonio, Texas), referee stops contest, round 1.
Melissa Fiorentino (Cranston, R.I.) def. Nakia Jones (Wilmington, N.C.), walkover.
Heather Stevens (Virginia Beach, Va.) def. Luckie Essary (Aurora, Mo.), 4-1.
Jennifer Smith (London, Ontario, Canada) def. Margaret Buehler (Champaign, Ill.), referee stops contest, round 2.
Donya Barsh (Aiken) vs. Keri Honeycutt (Cedartown, Ga.), late.
Samantha Tidd (Midford, Pa.) vs. Cassandra McPherson (Washington D.C.), late.
Judith Pyles (Riverdale, Ga.) vs. Rita Torres (Humble, Texas), late.
Donna Dasilva (Andover, Mass.) vs. Donna Mancusco (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), late.
Lois Pazera (Patos Hills, Ill.) vs. Miki Pryor (Wheatlet Heights, Mich.), late.
Natalie Brown (Norcross, Ga.) vs. Sha'Mell Carter (Kansas City, Kan.), late.
Seandra Coolidge (Kansas City, Mo.) vs. Sarah Hughes (North Augusta), late.
Rebecca Nettleton (Charleston, S.C.) vs. Fay Hollins (Winnabow, N.C.), late.
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