Fighting for Gold

(WVUE) - Every night, behind the secrecy that a thin glass can provide, is a dream in the making for 15-year old Alexis Lavarine. And she's giving herself a punchers chance at turning her dream into a reality

"That's always been my goal since 2012 Olympics," Lavarine said from the comfort of her trophy room, which also doubles as her bedroom. "Seeing people out there had me in awe. To be on stage in front of everyone with the support of my country and to represent them."

Representing the United States in the Olympics is what drives Alexis these days. It's why, when the rest of her friends are hanging out, Alexis is hanging out with her dad. In the gym. In the ring.

It's what's made their bond "the tightest" ever since she was 7 years old, which, coincidentally, is when Alexis saw her first boxing match and was hooked.

"I asked if i could do it and he (her dad) said no," she said.

"I was very apprehensive in beginning," said Alexis' dad, David. "She was my first child and was sick at a young age."

As a 4-month-old, Alexis was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and had so much trouble with her breathing that she had undergo breathing treatments every four hours.

So when as a 7-year-old Alexis decided she wanted to box, there was naturally some hesitation.

"When she wanted to go into a sport like this, I was very apprehensive," said David.

In the beginning the thinking was this desire to box would pass in due time.

"In the beginning I did," said Alexis' mom, Carla. "Then I saw the desire. Every night she wanted to go to the gym, so I said let's do it."

And from that moment on, Alexis was full steam ahead, although she said it felt a little more like baby steps.

"At first I worked into it," said Alexis. "I didn't spar. Dad didn't want me to get hit by people. After training, I wanted to do it. I sparred and did it competitively. It was fun for me."

And what began as a curiosity eventually exploded into something much bigger because Alexis got much better as time went on.

"She's been playing sports since she could walk," said David.

Introducing her to boxing made her better at other sports, so she took it and it went off from there.

"I've put a lot of work into this," said Alexis. "It all comes together naturally."

So naturally that Alexis has quickly become a household name in boxing. Few fighters her age have won as much as she has, and her room is full of reminders. The many world and national championship belts and trophies and medals that she's won over the years only leaves her wondering what's next and who's next.

In practice, which is in the ring, is where Alexis gets as close to having a real bout as anywhere. Of her 27 bouts, 24 of which were wins, only two of them have been held in her home state.

"They don't want to take the bouts," said David. "There's a lot of trainers that say they want their boxers to be the best, but a lot of them go a different direction when they can make the bouts."

"It's frustrating because I love my family there to watch me," said Alexis.

Simply put, Alexis just wants what every kid wants - for her parents to enjoy her rise to stardom as much as she is. And she's having a blast. Boxing, to Alexis is fun and a means to do more later on.

"Definitely," said Alexis. "After the Olympics I'm thinking of broadcasting and going into boxing professionally."

She's also thinking about giving mixed martial arts a try. But all of that will come after she achieves her first goal, which is being on that podium in 2020. She wants to be up there for the world to see, which will make for quite the party for everyone that helped her get there.

"We instill in our children to go the extra mile, more than everyone else does," said her dad. "It's reflection of both of us."

And when asked how close she feels she is to realizing her Olympic dream, Alexis doesn't mince words.

"I think I'm close because my dad prepared me. Trials are a year away. I've gotta keep working towards it and make team."

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