By Kinsee Morlan / Photography by Rob Hammer
Styled By Amanda Thorne-Pritchard
Hair & Makeup By Chelsea Gonzales Artistry
Shot on location at: House of Boxing Training Center
2312 Reo Dr. Paradise Hills
Abrazos (Hugs) To Carlos and Dave Barragan, father-and-son owners of the family boxing business that drew Danyelle Wolf in and helped make her a champ. “He’s holding the ladder,” says Carlos of his son, Dave, who seems poised to climb to the top.
Danyelle Wolf lives up to her last name. Outside the gym, though, she looks more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing than the powerhouse boxer she’s become over the past few years.
Sitting on her couch with her 15-year-old chihuahua in her lap, the lean, nearly 6-foot-tall fighter puts on a jazz album and props up her feet, showing off fire-engine red toenails.
“The color’s called ‘High Maintenance’ by Sephora,” she says, grabbing the bottle of nail polish off a dresser in her bedroom, where several large, championship-boxing belts hang from her bedposts.
When she’s wearing a dress and has her hair and makeup done, Wolf hardly resembles the same girl who dominates her opponents in YouTube clips. As she shows off the Jackson Pollack-like paintings she created and gets excited about the recent antique armoire she refurbished, it becomes even more difficult to believe that Wolf recently stepped off a plane from Venezuela, where she and the rest of the Team USA women boxers had competed in an international tournament. Wolf busted her opponent’s nose and won her fight, but her head-turning good looks also earned her a wink from her opponent, who later offered Wolf her official uniform as a token of admiration.
Blue Ringside Ring Master Boxing shoes ($80), Cleto Reyes leather high-top boxing shoes ($110), Both available at OTM Fightshops, otmfightshops.com.
Yet, you don’t have to look too far past the knockout veneer to see the fighter inside. The Pennsylvania-born gal has a bit of a tough, Philly-like accent, which is amplified when she turns up her unflinching self-confidence, saying things like, “I don’t think anybody works harder than me.” With a daily regime that runs year-round and can include upwards of five hours a day of training, she’s probably right.
Just five years ago, Wolf was an aspiring educator and marriage counselor who didn’t know a jab from a hook. After a year in the working world, however, she chose to make a living using her athleticism instead.
“I went to the gym, hit the mitts for a bit, and it felt really good,” she says.
After putting in time to learn boxing techniques and skills, Wolf lined up some fights. She won her first five local matches by knockout, and it wasn’t long before she couldn’t find anyone willing to take her on.
“I would look all up and down the coast for a fight,” she says, with a laugh.
Wolf’s goal at the time was to become a professional female boxer, but at the beginning of her second year of training, the International Olympic Committee announced that women’s boxing would be added to the 2012 Olympics. So, she set her sights on winning gold.
Wolf has wanted to compete in the Olympics since first grade. now, she’s closer than ever to that goal. Having won at the U.S. Boxing National Championships April 6 in Spokane, Washington, she’s now an official member of Team USA. For the next three years, she must defend her title, lest she get bumped from the team and have someone else take her place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
If all Wolf had to do from here on was kick ass, she’d be a shoe-in, but the hard part is figuring out how to fund her dreams. A penny-pincher who’s managed to hustle and scrape together enough to make things work so far, Wolf is finally to the point where she has to ask for help. She’s actively pursuing sponsorships to help pay for travel to worldwide boxing tournaments and says she’s especially interested in finding local support.
“I would love to have my city behind me,” she says. “When I go to a fight, it’s ‘Danyelle Wolf out of San Diego, California.’ they say that wherever I go.”
If sponsorships fall into place, and Wolf continues winning, she says she ultimately wants to be a spokesperson for female boxing, which, she admits, is in major need of a makeover.
“I want to help the sport,” she says. “I want to show that you can be educated and have morals and be a young lady and do this scientific, disciplined sport — and not be a brute. And not dress like a guy.”
Hungry Like The Wolf
Protein-heavy breakfasts and power punches
The creativity Wolf pours into painting and furniture-restoration comes in handy in the kitchen, too. she sticks to a strict diet of chicken, vegetables and fruit, but keeps things from getting boring by changing up seasonings or dressings, and by combining things in ways that might sound a little strange. For breakfast, for example, she cut out bread completely and now puts all the toppings she likes — almond butter, banana and honey — directly onto her eggs. “It’s a total power breakfast,” she says.
Danyelle Wolf’s training routine
Wolf’s opponents often think she’s in a higher weight class than she is, which intimidates them and works to her advantage. She’s a 152-pound welterweight, but because of her height and supremely cut muscles, she looks more like a middleweight or light-heavyweight fighter. Wolf maintains her boxer’s build by doing at least a few hours of cardio in the morning, training for a few hours with her coach at House of Boxing Training Center in the evening and, unlike a lot of her competitors who only train hard right before a fight, taking a breather only when she really needs it. “I train every day, all the time, year-round,” Wolf says. “But I really listen to my body and, if I need a day off, I take it.”
Twenty-four hours in the life of a champion
7:30 a.m. — Wake-up cardio workout: sprinting; a six-mile run; three miles of in-and-out sprints; or three, two-minute rounds of sprinting.
8:30 a.m. — Breakfast: three eggs with mozzarella cheese, a cup of milk, raw almond butter, half of a banana and raw honey drizzled on top.
9-11:30 a.m. — Personal training clients, PR work.
11:30 a.m. — Lunch: spinach and chicken salad with pineapple, cucumber and red wine vinegar.
12-3:30 p.m. — Boxing at House of Boxing with my coach.
4:00 p.m. — Afternoon snack: chicken in a bowl of roasted red pepper and tomato soup with mozzarella cheese and basil leaves. Blueberries, pineapple or mango for dessert.
4:00 p.m. — Slow run on Pacific Beach boardwalk.
4:30-6:30 p.m. — Personal training clients.
6:30 p.m. — Light dinner: spinach salad with cucumber.
6:30-11 p.m. — Take care of PR work, socialize or relax.
7:30 a.m. — Repeat.