Diary of… a boxer

Maeva Paolini is a second-year graduate student, earning a master’s degree in international business.  Paolini has had to face many challenges in moving from France to Florida. Now, as a boxer, she uses that same drive and dedication to gain the advantage over her opponents.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This saying is one of the best ways to describe who I am in a few words. I feel I have always fought for what I wanted.

Since I was a child, I’ve always had a lot of energy. In middle school, I used to run after the boys and hit them. You might think this is weird; I do, too, now. But, I suppose, it was a preview of what my life would turn out to be after all.

I would say I am a dream-chaser and a fighter. As I was growing up, my dad and I would talk about what it would be like if we could grow his company, Station Coiffure, internationally. My dad is a talented French hair stylist, who decided to take it to the next level by becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own business and hair salons from scratch. Even though my dad was raised by a single mother under poor financial conditions, he has never considered his goals impossible.

After months of English classes, exams and hard work, I finally created a bridge between my hometown, Nice, France, and the U.S., as I was accepted into the bachelor of business program at NSU. Our family project is still ongoing and I am still working hard to fulfill our dreams.

My dad has always been my inspiration. This project, of building a global business together, along with his ongoing support, has given me the strength to fight for my dreams.

The fighter aspect of my personality also comes from many other factors. You would not believe how many people doubted and judged my decision to move abroad. In a way, I wanted to prove everybody wrong and prove that, with hard work and motivation, anything can be accomplished. I guess I needed a bigger challenge than what was presented to me at the time. And oh my, it’s been challenging. Up to three jobs at a time, on top of school — who says it can’t be done?

And out of nowhere, the 5-foot, 1-inch French little athletic thing that I am got introduced to boxing. I was actually looking for a gym to enroll in, as I had just moved to a new area. While I was driving on Biscayne Boulevard, I saw a big red sign, reading “Biscayne Boxing”.

All of a sudden, I thought “this is it”, so I pulled over, entered the gym and met Mickey Demos. Mickey is an amazing coach and fighter, who showed me the gym and taught me about boxing. I quickly fell in love with the sport. Great work ethics and dedication is the etiology of boxing, so I really feel right at home.

Three years later here, I am nicknamed “The Mosquito” and punching harder than boys, though I don’t chase them anymore. Mickey gave me that nickname because, like a mosquito, I’m little, yet fast. However, I used to be bothered by this comparison; therefore, Mickey used to purposely call me “the mosquito” out loud, in front of everyone, in order to make me mad, so I would punch even harder and quicker.

It was the beginning of a long journey. Boxing is now part of who I am, and, despite my girly looks and the lack of scars and bruises on my face, I box four to five times a week. Now my goal is to become more involved in the community and share my passion and interest for that sport, especially teaching others that boxing is no more dangerous than any other sport when taught properly.

I met with the owner of Biscayne Boxing to discuss the possibility to bringing boxing to colleges. Many well-known schools, such as the University of Miami and Florida International University, have created boxing clubs within their institutions, but more involvement is needed for these wonderful athletes to get more recognition and, hopefully, scholarships.

As a member of the NSU community, I wanted to do something here, too, in this never-ending growing and expanding school that I am proud to still be part of. I created the NSU Boxing Club, of which I’m the president, and many students have shown interest and have already signed up. But I hope many more Sharks will join and spread the love.

We have the unique opportunity to work with the best coaches, like Dwaine Simpson and his son, Guy Simpson. Dwaine had an amazing career as a professional boxer and was a Florida Boxing Hall of Famer in 2011. He was also known to train many young world champions through his youth boxing program. He is now going to help NSU boxing club make its mark in this sport’s history. We also have Bonnie Canino, a two-time world champion who has a tremendous influence in women boxing and is ready to help our club grow.

Anybody ready for a life-changing experience is welcome to come out and join the NSU Boxing Club. Contact me at maeva@nova.edu.

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