Stephanie Wharen, 26, isn’t your typical third-year law student. After spinal surgery from a power lifting injury, Wharen did rehab with Logan Holler, a UofSC graduate and equestrian team alumna who is now a professional boxer. Holler included boxing drills as part of Wharen’s therapy and later connected her with boxing trainer Dominic Neal at Main Event Fitness Center, where she’s been training for more than two years.
In the last four months, Wharen has kicked up her training and will compete in the 2015 Ringside World Championship Boxing Tournament Aug. 5 – 8 in Independence, Missouri.
Training isn’t easy for Wharen. She’s a full-time law clerk, which means training is early morning before work and every evening. She hits the gym from 5 – 7 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and does long distance running on Tuesday and Thursday. Her evening routines Monday through Friday focus on technique and sparring with her coach, and Saturday mornings bring more sparring.
Over the weekend of July 18 – 19, Wharen competed with her teammate Jaylon Pridegon, 17, in a Georgia boxing tournament. Pridegon earned silver and Wharen took gold, although admittedly there were few women who competed. Coach Neal entered both Pridegon and Wharen in the 2015 Ringside World Boxing Championships, believing that they could dominate the field of amateur boxers from around the world.
The pair will compete in the novice division. The weeklong tournament will feature more than 1,500 fighters and more than 1,000 fights.
“This tournament will finally give me the chance to compete for a world title,” Wharen says. “It will give Jaylon those same competition opportunities as well as give him the last few fights he needs to qualify for the Olympic trials in September. We have been working every day to be ready for this tournament.”
To help with expenses, Wharen and Pridgeon have created a GoFundMe page. Tournament costs could exceed $2,000 between registration fees and travel expenses. Any unused funds will go toward Olympic trials.
“Being students, we can’t afford the trip on our own and desperately need fundraising to get us there since the tournament is in 11 days,” she says. “We have been working so hard and are hungry to compete for a world title to bring back to South Carolina.”