By Courtney Giardina, Regular Contributor
In 2014, Forbes.com revealed the list of the 100 highest paid athletes in the world. On the top of that list was professional boxer Floyd Mayweather. His annual earnings were $105 million. That’s $105 million over 12 months for a total of 72 minutes in the ring.
Tori Nelson is also a professional boxer. Currently undefeated and a multi-division champion, she ranks number one in the U.S. and number two in the world. Where does she rank on the highest paid list? She doesn’t. In the sport of boxing, recognition for the female spectrum is still working to gain ground. It’s still struggling to gain promoter support and pay per fight is less than half what it would be for the equivalent level of a fight in the male arena.
But Tori Nelson keeps fighting. She wakes up at 4:30am for a full day of waitressing at a local IHOP before she heads home to care for her two children. She’s been known to hold two to three jobs at a time and spends a majority of her nights training in the gym for her next fight. Though it’s clear she’s not doing it for the money, one might ask her why? Why does she exhaust herself day in and day out for a sport that doesn’t seem to show any sort of appreciation back? Her answer is simple.
“I started it already and I don’t just stop something I started,” she said to boxingscene.com. “I don’t want my kids to see that as an example. I started it already and quitting is not an option.”
Tori Nelson isn’t just fighting for herself. She’s fighting for the future. The future of her children and the future of all female athletes who will someday follow her. Through hard work, perseverance and determination Nelson will show the world one fight at a time what she is worth. She will prove to all of those around her that strong and feminine are two words that can be used in the same sentence.
Every morning she wakes up, she is a mother who loves her children and an athlete with goals bigger than anyone may be able to imagine. And that is the kind of woman capable of changing the world.
Why do you think sports is so often considered a "man's world" when there are incredibly talented women like Tori Nelson out there? How can we continue to break down these barriers?
Courtney was born and raised in a suburb outside of Rochester, NY. She now calls Charlotte, NC home. Each day she lives by the motto that we create the life we imagine for ourselves. Her debut novel Tear Stained Beaches was released in 2013, her second novel is currently in editing and she has begun work on novel #3. Having a passion for cheerleading most of her life, it’s no surprise her spare time is spent currently as the head coach for a local middle school team and also as part of the Charlotte Hounds Major League Lacrosse dance team. She tweets under @sweetangeleyz and shares her latest adventures at The Girl Behind the Covers