Strong Family Bond Paved Way to Success For Boxing’s Serrano Sisters
The Serrano sisters, Cindy “Checkmate” Serrano and younger sister Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano, born six years apart are the only Professional World Champion female siblings in boxing.
The first to venture into the boxing ring was Cindy, who at the time wanted to lose weight after the birth of her daughter. She was advised by Jordan Maldonado a former amateur boxer, who later became her manager, trainer and husband, that the best way was cardio with boxing. She tried it and found that she really enjoyed the sport after a few weeks of training.
One day she made the decision to spar with a more experience partner, in her first three-round session. As Cindy put it “I got my butt kicked but I kept on.”
Becoming a professional boxer wasn’t on her agenda, it was actually Jordan who saw the potential in her the next time she sparred with that same partner. In an interview with Dough Harden of WBNA (Women Boxing Archive Network), Jordan said: “after I saw her kick that girl’s (butt) after only her second time in the ring I knew she had something special inside. We would try to get other girls to spar with her but nobody wanted to work with us. So we took a negative and make it a positive. She spars with men, pros and amateur. I think the fact that she trains with men inspires her to push herself more in the gym.”
When asked about her role models, Cindy admits that since boxing was a sport she stumbled upon and didn’t really know much about at the time, her role models were primarily the guys she trained with and Jordan Maldonado. As she became immersed in the sports, two of the people she came to admired were Hector Camacho and Miguel Cotto.
She eventually made her professional debut in the ring on Sept 12, 2003 at the Rollins Center at Dover Downs Slots in Dover, Delaware. She won a unanimous 40-36 decision against Kathy Rodriguez.
The discipline and regiment required in the training stages was initially hard for her since she was a big junk food eater, however 11 years later – eating right, training hard has become a lifestyle. As with every athlete, family support is one of the keys to success. Early on in her career little sister Amanda, who would later follow in her big sisters footsteps, babysat when Cindy had matches or had to train. The close family bond of the Serrano’s is what’s ensured successful careers for both women.
When Amanda began her own career, Jordan and their mom took over babysitting duties, so the sisters could train and attend matches. Cindy prefers to be a hands on mom. At times it could be challenging, taking the kids to school, picking them up, doing homework, participating in school activities as well as her training and matches, however with the support of her family she’s been able to do this and have her children with her at the gym all the times. Her children, so far, have no desire to box and she doesn’t push it on either of them. But if they do decided to step into the ring in the future she will support them 100%.
Amanda Serrano’s entry into the boxing ring was inspired by watching her older sister Cindy. When she was around 12 she told Jordan Maldonado (Cindy’s trainer), that she wanted to box since she was in the gym all the time. Cindy and Jordan tried to persuade Amanda not to fight and arranged for her to spar with a boy that was known to show no mercy. After getting beat up, she ran home crying but came back to the gym the next day; she was determined to box.
Maldonado, skeptical of Amanda’s desire to box asked Cindy to take Amanda into the ring to show her what a brutal sport boxing was and to discourage her once and for all. To Jordan’s amazement Amanda held her own against Cindy, it was then that he realized she was really serious about boxing.
Amanda’s conviction and determination as a young girl to take up boxing paid off when she made her professional debut in the ring on March 20, 2009 at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, New York. She won a four-round majority decision over Jackie (Jaci) Trivilino.
When she’s training and hitting the bag she says, “I just picture the girls face then I hit the bag harder and harder. Then I see the referee holding my hand up and saying “and the winner is Amanda Serrano” it motivates me.” That drive is what’s made Amanda the UBF and WIBA Women’s Featherweight Champion.
The sisters are very close and very supportive of each other, always understanding how the other feels after a tough fight or a hard training. These two professional world champions credits their close knit family bond for keeping them grounded, humble and good role models to Cindy’s daughter and young girls everywhere. Amanda, still very shy and reserved never takes anything for granted, as she put it, “this sport is very hard, one wrong punch can ruin your life and your career, don’t ever think you know everything.” Cindy is just as reserved and quiet, admitting that she’s a homebody and most people don’t know that she’s a fighter, unless they know who she is.
For all athletes to succeed, a strong family support system is essential. Amanda’s advice to families of aspiring athletes is to, “let them try, let them give it a shot, it could be the best thing that ever happened to them. The first time I tried boxing I got my butt kicked and was discouraged from boxing, but I went back and now I’m one of the best in this sport”. Cindy’s advice to family members: “be supportive and understand that in any sport, there’s good and there’s bad, it’s not always easy but you have to be supportive”.
What’s in store for the Serrano sisters?
They are busy with their management company Body N’ Style Management that recently launched a new bi-monthly magazine Body N’ Style Magazine (www.bodynstylemagazine.com). They will also be appearing in a music video by rapper Loaded Lux called “you’ll Neva Win”; and the sister is also preparing to shoot their upcoming reality television show with Meetinghouse Productions.
(All photos are courtesy of Brother-Michael Katlow Cox)
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