CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — At 5-foot-3 and 135 pounds, elite boxer Tashara Van Alstyne is on a mission. A heavyweight portion of confidence joins her in the boxing ring at the Match Bout training facility in Chesapeake.
“I want to look good when I’m in there; I think about looking good, being sharp,” said Van Alstyne after a brief training session with Coach Big Lion, who is also her uncle.
She has experience in being sharp, first as a Norfolk Police officer and now as a Maritime Enforcement Petty Officer in the Coast Guard Reserve.
“I know people are watching; watching my style; watching my breathing and everything. So for me, it’s being in control of everything,” said Van Alstyne who played basketball, track and field, and soccer at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach. After graduating from high school in 2009, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Old Dominion University.
Beginning on September 9, Van Alstyne, a former mixed martial arts competitor, will compete in Pueblo, Colorado in the last national qualifying event before the Olympic trials.
“The difference between me and these young ladies [competitors] is that I am more mature and a little bit wiser,” said Van Alstyne. Coach Big Lion compares her style to that of the late Pernell Sweet Pea Whitaker. “She’s definitely a defensive boxer and we all know that defense wins games,” said Big Lion.
Van Alstyle will compete in a field with more than a dozen other women in an estimated 4-5 fights over a one-week period. Only the top two contenders will advance to the Olympic Trials in December.
Regina Mobley: Do you see yourself in Paris?
Van Alstyne: For some reason I do. I feel like God has revealed something greater to me than I can imagine. If this is the one opportunity I have, then why not go for it?
Before Van Alstyne can get to Paris, first she has to get to Pueblo, Colorado, and win. She has established a GoFundMe page in hopes supporters will help with associated expenses.
“Any support, any help that I can get is much loved because it’s a good investment,” said Van Alstyne. The elite boxer and her coach also host physical and social fitness programs for children.