By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffJune 17, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Standing 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 132 pounds, amateur female boxer Tiffany "Twinkle Toes" Coussens competes in the Women's National Golden Gloves in Hollywood, Fla., that take place June 15-19.
The self-described "girly-girl" didn't think she'd be boxing at such a high level until she met her current coach, Kevin Green.
Coussens is the wife of Chris Coussens, currently a warrant officer in flight school here. She took up boxing four years ago, but didn't participate in any matches prior to moving to Alabama from Alaska.
"I didn't compete at all (there). I was working full-time as a gate guard at Fort Richardson," she said. "It's been like starting all over here."
Coussens met Green after hearing about his reputation as an effective boxing instructor. The two have worked together for four months and improved her methods.
"By the grace of God I got hooked up with Coach Green and now I'm competing," she said.
Green helped her prepare for fights by using vigorous training methods including two-a-day practices, she said.
"We do a lot of weight lifting, cone drills and shadowboxing," she said. "We usually (train) about six days a week."
Becoming a competitor brought a lot of new challenges, Coussens noted. In amateur boxing the wait times can be long and for someone who's not used to downtime, it can be a challenge.
"What's hard for me is, there's a lot of hurry up and wait going on," she said. "I just think about how hard I've trained and how many people support me. That usually gets me through the downtime."
When he started working with Coussens, she had a lot of bad habits that needed correcting, Green said. He had to "reprogram" her thought process in the ring.
"She had no defense when we started," he said. "That's my coaching style. I train for a strong defense because I don't want my fighters to get hit."
He added he's instructed between 200 and 300 fighters in his time as a coach. Coussens had a strong base when she started working with him, but he still took time to break her down and get back to basics.
"She works tremendously hard," Green said. "I have to give her every skill I can to make her better. She was used to the local and state level fights that involved just standing in front of each other and beating on each other until the round was over. At the national and international levels, fighters are moving around a lot so I've been training her for that style."
Her hard work and dedication also got the attention of Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley, who recently presented her with a certificate of appreciation for qualifying for the Golden Gloves tournament and the USA Boxing National Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.
This is a great way to recognize her achievements, Kelley said during the brief ceremony at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility.
"You're really an inspiration for me," she said to Coussens.
Coussens' husband is also supportive of his wife's endeavors and goes out of his way to help her during training, she said.
"He cooks all the meals in our house and he orders equipment for me," she said. "There's no bag hanging in the gym right now so he ordered one and hung it up for me."
After the USA Boxing National Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 11-17, Coussens hopes to go much further.
"I want to go to the Olympics," she said. "The 2012 Olympics will be the first time they've had women's boxing and I want to be on that team."