Less than four years after being honored on senior day as a member of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine soccer team, Bree Locquiao’s incredible transition to the boxing ring reached a historical haymaker last week in Florida.
The 26-year-old Mililani graduate, in just her third year in the sport, became the first female flyweight from Hawaii to be crowned a national Golden Gloves champion according to USA Boxing, as she beat Rosalyn Scribner in the 106 lbs. final by unanimous decision following a TKO in the semi-final round.
In the process, Locquaio (3-1) joins an elite list of Hawaii-raised boxers to have their name etched into Golden Gloves immortality, joining the likes of Julio Rodriguez in 1976, Tuese Ahkiong in 1998, and Brian Viloria in 1999.
The National Golden Gloves is the most highly regarded amateur boxing tournament in the United States, and has held that distinction since 1962, with notable former champions being Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and the late Muhammad Ali.
“It’s probably one of my biggest accomplishments as far as what I’ve done in my life,” said Locquiao.
According to Golden Gloves records Hawaii’s Eileen Kuwaye Olszewski, representing New York boxing won the 112 lbs. title in 2002, while Hawaii’s Colleen Loo took the 101 lbs. title in 2005.
Locquaio’s journey to flyweight glory has been a breeze by traditional standards. After three torn ACL surgeries in her soccer career, the squard-circle was just a road to get back into shape. Turns out, it’s shaping the future of Hawaii boxing.
“At first, when I was doing it as cardio, I didn’t think of competing. It was really hard, so I broke down maybe once or twice before I actually thought I could go through with this and make it a career,” said Locquiao.
Carlos “Nito” Tangaro, a former professional boxer and sparring partner for the iconic Manny Pacquiao, began training Locquiao three years ago, and is not surprised with her success.
“It’s amazing to a lot of people, but for me I saw it coming, because I saw the potential in her from the day I met her, and all I needed was her to believe in herself like how I believed in her. I knew she was going to accomplish all of this,” Tangaro said. “If it was anybody to make history, I’m glad it was her. She’s one of the perfect girls. She lives life right. You couldn’t pick anybody perfect like that for young girls to look up to her. It’s perfect.”
“Every time I step into that ring, I think of representing the 808 state and also representing myself,” said Locquiao. “I have more goals for me. I want to make the USA Boxing team and just win more national tournaments so that it can lead me to getting into the Olympic team in 2020.”
The fast track to the top continues next week for Locquiao. She will take part in the Ringside World Championships in Missouri July 26-29.
Locquiao and Nito Boxing Academy are selling merchandise and accepting donations in an attempt to pay for future tournaments.