By Marie Berberea, Fort SillMarch 28, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (March 28, 2013) Twelve-year-old Allyanna Bates, sets her feet, puts up her hands and listens for instructions. David Vaughn, rapidly calls out a string of numbers, and "Ally's" fists fly.
Vaughn, Golden Glove boxer and owner of Madman Boxing in Elgin, Okla., has been coaching Ally since last year. Ally carefully listens and only asks what she can do; not worrying about what she can't.
"I've done almost all the sports I really wanted to do. My dad brought up boxing and I saw a couple people fighting, so I was going to try it. At first I wanted to do it for fun, to do the workout and all that, but then I started actually getting into it," said Ally.
When asked what the hardest part of boxing was, Ally didn't mention anything physical. She simply said, 'being the only female in the gym.' She said the boys don't tease her, but she does believe more girls should get into the sport.
"I like that I can actually express, not really express, but I can show that I'm strong. I can show that I can do this."
She's not the only one as women's boxing made its debut in the 2012 London Olympics, creating a lot of excitement for the sport.
"The whole boxing committee is trying to wrap their minds around how to now bring the girls up and get them to the Olympic level," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bates, Ally's father.
Ally said her goal is to make it to the Olympics, but she has many fights to go before that happens. She doesn't seem to mind as she already knows the plan for each round.
"In the first round I usually suck up the punches, then in the second round I get more motivated and [Vaughn] will tell me what the plan is going to be and then I'll do that and that's when I'll actually get to start fighting," said Ally.
Ally is one of several military children Vaughn has coached in the ring. He said the routine of coming into the gym five days a week and sweating it out is great for creating stability in their very fluid lives.
He said it also teaches them discipline outside of the ring.
"We teach the kids just because you're a boxer doesn't mean you can go out into the streets and get into fights. Be the better man or the better lady to say 'hey I'm going to walk away from it,'" said Vaughn.
Bates said Ally has always been active. And when she first decided to get moving she started early.
"We had just PCS'd to Italy. Me and my wife were running the track, she was 2 years old and was trying to run the track. She just took off after that," said Bates. "As I like to say, 'She's the daughter of a paratrooper, so she knows what to do.'"
Ally not only works on her endurance for boxing, but she uses her fast footwork to run.
She is often seen on the 3-Mile Track passing up Soldiers and Marines during morning PT. She also runs in every 5K and 10K race in the area.
"Our first year here for the Devil Dog Run she placed first overall female, she placed third overall female for the last Diamond Brigade run, and she placed second overall female in the first 6th [Air Defense Artillery] run," said Bates.
Ally's short-time goal is to compete in the Ringside World Championship in Kansas City, Mo., in late July.
She came in second last year, and she plans on bringing the belt to the Madman Boxing house this summer.
Vaughn has complete faith in her ability because even her first time in the ring she showed the tenacity necessary to win.
"I think the second week that she came to me I had her in the ring. She was 11 and I put her against a 13-year-old girl and Ally stopped the young lady in the second round and won the best female fight of the night," said Vaughn.
The 5th Annual David H. Vaughn Jr. Madman Boxing Tournament raises money for young boxers, like Ally, to travel all over Oklahoma Kansas, Texas and Arkansas and compete.
"Last year Ally was just dominating this young lady so bad I had to back her off a little bit," said Vaughn.
The tournament is April 19-20 at Eisenhower High School gymnasium, 5202 N.W. Gore Blvd. Fights start at 7 p.m. April 19 and 2:30 p.m. April 20. Admission is $8 and proceeds go toward travel costs for each fighter.