Stephanie 'Golden Girl' Jaramillo is one of the pioneers of women's boxing. Now, Jaramillo and her husband, Dominic Gonzales, are launching Geronimo Enterprises (geronimoenterprises.com), a promotions company that will begin organizing mixed martial arts and amateur boxing bouts in Santa Fe as early as August 2008.
SFR: Is there a lot of interest in Santa Fe for this sort of stuff?
Well, you know what? In New Mexico, just the general mixed martial arts is super hot. I mean, everybody is doing it. I love boxing, my background is boxing. I love watching boxing a little bit more than watching the mixed martial arts, but I can't believe how hot it is and how much people are into it and just the way it's growing. I used to work with [mixed martial arts star] Diego Sanchez and that's how I got into watching it. At first, it was a little bit too, too violent. It was just too intense. I was clenched with every little blow. Now, you know, I'm into it. I think once I understand the technique more, I'll be more of a fan of it.
Tell me a little bit more about your own background. Are you still boxing?
No, I boxed for 12 years and most of my background really comes from the Amateurs. When I was boxing, there was, like, no girls around. Every time I fought I made history, because it was the first time for USA vs. Canada, USA vs. Russia. First you go to state, then regionals, nationals and internationals. The highest they would let the girls go at that time was to state. My mom went and talked to the president of USA Boxing and told them she was going to get a lawyer and sue them for discrimination if they didn't let me go to the regionals and it took off from there. And now we have women in the Pan American Games and they're looking to make it an Olympic sport.
How did you get the nickname 'Golden Girl'?
When I first, first started out boxing, my nickname was 'Chiquita Bulldozer.' It means 'little bulldozer.' It was cute and everything, but my Dad would always call me his 'little golden girl,' from when I was little, before I even wanted to box or anything. When my coach heard my dad call me 'Golden Girl,' he said, 'Hey! I like that!' It picked up and Golden Girl stuck. It has nothing to do with Oscar de la Hoya, with him being 'Golden Boy.' I met him a few years back too, and it was pretty funny, because his coach was Floyd Mayweather and Floyd Mayweather was also training me. We went up to Oscar's place and Floyd, he's all, 'Golden Boy meet Golden Girl. Golden Girl meet Golden Boy.'
It sounds like boxing is a family activity for you.
Believe it or not, I'm the only one that's ever boxed in my whole family. My father wanted to box when he was little. He came from a really poor family, so they didn't have the money to put him into boxing and he also just didn't have the support from his family to do boxing. I first saw boxing when I was 5 and I wanted to box ever since then. My dad was freaked out. He was like, 'Nooo. You can't be a boxer.' And I was like, 'But I want to be a boxer, Dad!' I had to bug him years and years. When I was 12 years old my dad told me, 'I'm tired of you always saying that you want to box, you want to box. I'll make a deal with you: The first time there's a girl boxing on TV, I'll let you box. But until then, you've got to stop saying you want to be a boxer and stop bugging me.' So we shook hands and then two years later there was Christy Martin boxing on TV and my dad's all, 'Remember the bet?' I was like, 'Yep.' And then my mom's like, 'No, she's not going to box! She's not going to box!' And my dad's all, 'A bet's a bet.'' We went looking for a gym the next day and I got turned down by six gyms that said they didn't want to deal with girls. We actually came across a gym that took nothing but girls and it's called A Woman's Place. We joined there and 2 Â½ months later I had my first fight. It was a knockout.
A lot of times people talk about boxing and Latinos or Hispanics in the same way that people often talk about African-Americans in basketball, that for many who don't have opportunities or come from impoverished backgrounds, this is a way for them to rise up in the world through sports. Is that just a stereotype?
It is a stereotype but there is some truth to it, too. When I was traveling in the Amateurs, I would say maybe 80 percent or 90 percent were from extremely poor, really, really poor backgrounds. You can find a boxing program almost in any community center. A lot of the kids go to the community centers because they have nothing else to do at the house. But I also know a lot of people that got into boxing because they had a lot of anger that they wanted to get out. Boxing helps a lot of different people. That's a question that could go either way, do you know what I mean?
You just had a son, didn't you?
Well, another reason I got into promoting and really went ahead with it is I don't want my son to box and I don't want my son to have nothing to do with the fighting part of boxing or mixed martial arts.
Well, why not? Isn't that a bit hypocritical?
I can't believe the way my mom and dad let me. I can't believe it. My dad said, 'Sometimes you just have to support them. You can tell him no and no and no, but sometimes no is not enough. Sometimes you just have to say yes and support him and just keep your fingers crossed.'
So, you don't want to, but if he gets older and really wants to, you might have to give in?
Yeah, I might have to give in. With me, it's still in my blood. I need my little fix now and then. Sometimes training and training is not enough. But now, having a little boy, that's totally changed my life and my way of thinking and looking at things. I hope he takes over this company. I want him to know everything about boxing and physically know about boxing. I just don't want him to get in the ring and compete. But I do know there is a chance he might want to box, but I really don't want that to happen. I'd rather have him go to private schools and use his brains instead of his fists.