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Karen Ismenia Perez Revolorio turned 16 less than a month ago and has been training in Antalya for the past week with her coach Carlos Alberto Lopez as part of the AIBA-funded Road to Antalya program, under which 23 boxers and seven coaches are preparing for the AIBA Junior and Youth World Championships, which start in the Turkish coastal city on Sunday.

Karen first came into contact with boxing ten years ago when she used to watch it on television with her father. Around the same time, her brother was training as a boxer with the national federation and she went along to his training sessions. This is when she started to set her heart on becoming a boxer as well.

She started boxing “for the discipline and the movement”, saying that “boxing is a sport that requires a lot of discipline, both inside and outside the ring, and that’s how I like to do things.”

The Boxing Federation of Guatemala was invited to select a boxer to participate in the Road to Antalya program as part of the world governing body’s “Road to Dream” project, which assists boxers and coaches in developing and emerging boxing countries throughout the world to train for and compete in all AIBA World Championship events.

The Boxing Federation of Guatemala selected Karen to take part in the Road to Antalya training camp since she was believed to be the best athlete to represent Guatemala at the Junior World Championships, in the 60kg division – an opportunity that she has earned with a lot of work and dedication. Her hard work includes training twice a day back home in Guatemala and attending classes on Saturdays as part of her studies in accounting.

Karen’s national boxing record includes three Viernes de Boxeo tournaments (2006, 2008 and 2009) and a gold medal at the Feria Amatitlan 2007.

At international level she has competed in the 2010 Central American Championships in Costa Rica and the first Maiduvin Trujillo Escobar International Cup, where she won the gold medal.