Yokasta Valle – Boxing Champion
By Melissa Rojas Álvarez
San José, Costa Rica
Photographer Maurice Aguilar
Photography Assistant Andrey Palacios
Creative Director Di Santamria
Stylist Assistant Dayla Arias
MUA Stephanie Centeno
Hair Mirlen Quesada
As a stage I find myself in a family space for her, strange for me: A boxing ring. Sitting next to me is one of the most popular figures in Costa Rica: Yokasta Valle, a Costa Rican boxer, recent 105 Pound World Champion of the Boxing Federation –FID. Upon meeting her, the first impression was completely opposed to the kind of person I expected to meet. Society has imposed a completely wrong concept of the true reality and personality of a female athlete and boxer. I discover in her a sweet looking Woman, with her qualities that characterize her: sympathy and simplicity.
Let’s talk about the woman who is Yokasta Valle, let the boxer rest for a moment. “I am a woman of 27 years old, and I have 4 sisters, one of them is also a boxer.”
“I consider myself a dreamer and a fighter, my secret and the key of my success has been leading my personal and professional life with discipline, without her, I am sure, I wouldn’t be holding my title today. I learned this thanks to my dad, my example and my role model, the reason why I am a boxer today.”
One of the things that have attracted my attention when I met you, is that you break all the badly founded stereotypes, about the little female attitude in the boxers, tell me about it.
“I believe that heels and boxing boots can be combined, without any problem. My passion for boxing is not a reason to have to dress like a man, on the contrary I like to dress fashion, I like to wear heels and put on some makeup, but when I am in the boxing ring, I become a beast.”
Definitely as far as I know, your dad was the person, who motivated you, and made you give an opportunity to a sport cataloged mainly ideal for the male gender, becoming this one of the causes of sexist ideologies and pessimistic society about a female figure in the ring.
How was your first experience boxing experience?
“My first experience in this new and unknown sport, it was not the best. I did not like the smell of the gym and just thinking that they could hurt my face with a blow, I came to regret and think that this sport was not for me. I gave boxing a chance just to please my father, my big surprise was that just three weeks after starting my boxing practices, my coach decided to propose my first fight, which I won.”
Is your father a professional and personal inspiration in your life?
“My dad has been my idol, since I was little, and a figure that I deeply admire. I have decided to imitate this in my life, his discipline and commitment to all his obligations and projects. This is a reason why I do not consider myself a conformist person, I am aware that the challenges increase after win and the responsibility is always much greater.”
How difficult it was for you to gain respect and credibility in the boxing ring?
It was very hard start fighting for respect and a space currently in this sport is very difficult, there is still a lot of inequality, for example, Women in a victory earn less money that men, even if our effort becomes greater.”
“When I told my friends about my plans to win fights and become successful, they always said: Yoka, that is going to be difficult, you will not get very far.”
How was your boxing debut in Costa Rica?
“It was an opportunity to show everyone my courage, because the talent is not all that is needed in the ring. I had my first fight with an older Woman than me, and who had more advantage in fights, so from the beginning I had less chance of winning, but regardless of this reason and against all odds, I managed to win the fight and with this victory, my illusions and dreams were born for my new passion: boxing.”
How to manage to face the negative comments of lack of support from people around you?
“Always, regardless of the circumstances, I have kept my positive thoughts, my dreams and desires to succeed a float, breaking records. But I will not lie, the negative comments were never lacking, I knew that people did not believe in me, but that lack of faith gave me the persistence that I needed to move forward and overcome all the circumstances that presented me. The phrase that has always accompanied me and that has given me encouragement to go ahead is: If they can, why can’t I?”
How was that last fight in Spain, which you defended your title as the 105 Pound FID World Champion?
“Many people do not know, but before I had already traveled to fight in Japan and Germany, and we had not won, so I thought the third was the charm, my manager told me that we had two options: Win or win. It was very difficult, I was prepared to fight and not give up, but I have many disadvantages, the biggest of all and with greater weight, was that I had to fight outside my home, where of course they supported my Spanish opponent, and for what was in danger my loss of the title, but this only motivated me to fight harder and without giving up, my goal was to obtain the title and be able to dedicate it to all the Women of Costa Rica, and remember: we are capable of everything what we propose.”
Have you felt in your professional career support from your country?
“At the beginning it was very difficult, they didn’t believe in me. For my last fight in Spain, we were in need of sponsors and support. Together with my manager we knocked on many doors, in which most of us did not want to provide the help we needed, the answer we received was: Win first and when you return, we will see. With much effort we managed to raise the money we needed. A completely different experience we live on our return to Costa Rica, with the title in hand, at that time if we had the support we had wanted before the trip.”
What are your plans for this next year 2020?
“My plans in my career are always discussed and work with my team, which is made up of Marco Delgado, who is my coach and Mario Vega, my representative, in both I fully trust and together we choose the next fights and confrontations. One of our projects is working on being able to go behind the WBA –World Boxing Association, WBO- World Boxing Organization and the World Boxing Council, either managing to bring the opponents to Costa Rica or go for them, all this achieve unifying the titles.”
And finally, what are your dreams?
“One of my big dreams is to have the four titles of 105 Pounds, with this, I would feel the reach of a great professional achievement. Another of my dreams is to find a boxing school to train women, from girls to adults. Sharing my knowledge and experiences, training them to achieve a better physical condition, even as a weapon to be able to defend themselves or simply for fun, I want to be able to convey the message that everything that women propose in life, they can do it, we need only discipline and love towards what we want to achieve. I have had the opportunity to live this experience, helping women attacked both physically and psychologically. In my classes they have managed to get to externalize, as this feeling of insecurity, through boxing has been changing and has been transformed into the value they need to overcome the bad times in their lives.”
Yokasta Valle, human being, woman, and boxer with a winning soul.