USA Boxing champ and Olympic hopeful Hemingway honored at sports museum

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It’s been a long time coming, but the Senator John Heinz Western Pennsylvania Sports and History Museum welcomed USA Boxing light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway March 3 by unveiling of an exhibit in her honor for all her fans to see.

Hemingway, a Perry Traditional Academy graduate, added the sports museum exhibit to her growing list of accomplishments. She owns this house, literally and figuratively.

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IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS— Tika Hemingway poses next to her display at the Senator John Heinz Western Pennsylvania Sports and History Museum.

“I was surprised how many people and kids were down there,” said Hemingway. “I’m a very humble person and I’m proud to represent Pittsburgh and the sports museum.”

Unlike most of Wall Street, Hemingway’s stock is way up! It’s a rare thing when an amateur is more well-known and popular with the fans than some of the pros. Women’s boxing is one of the fastest-rising sports in the country.

Hot off the presses comes confirmation that women’s boxing will be added, for the first time, to the 2012 Olympics.

Yes, the “moving art” that is Tika is about to grace the 2012 Olympic stage, and the world of boxing is waiting to witness a fighter that many consider to be the one of the greatest that boxing has ever seen.

Tika takes boxing to a whole new level; one moment she is stalking like a jungle cat; the next, slithering like a snake; the next, prancing like a gazelle. Tika’s grace, passion and athleticism all combine to bring, in her own words, “a celebration of the art form and sweet science that is boxing.”

“I told her the first time I saw her workout that one day you will be fighting in countries you can’t pronounce,” said Tika’s first trainer, Rev. Sheldon Stoudemire. “She is now an international fighter, so you won’t see her fighting locally until she turns pro.”

Although she currently lives in Pittsburgh, Hemingway travels all over the world. Approachable and possessing a great sense of humor, she has a weakness for cereal and soul food, and a self-proclaimed “fetish” for Nike gym shoes. This is no surprise: after all, in ancient Greece, the goddess Nike symbolized the personification of victory and strength!

“I go into training in May and I’m fighting in four tournaments this year,” said Hemingway. “I’m fighting in Florida, Colorado, Argentina and Barbados.”

Tika Hemingway promises to bring the pain in 2010 by defending her title in July at the USA Boxing Championship in Colorado Springs. She strongly believes in the adage, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What is a typical day for the national champion?

“I get up at 4:30 every morning and I run three miles plus some wind sprints,” said Hemingway. “Then I eat breakfast and go to school. I’m a criminal justice major at Point Park University. Then in the evening I train from 5:30 to 9 p.m.”

“Tika is a great ambassador of the sport and conducts herself with the utmost professionalism,” added Tika’s current coach, Darren Dolby.

Tika is a hero who never gives up. She keeps her “eyes on the prize.” Tika’s unlimited potential is clear and she is now being mentioned with some of the best boxers on the planet.

The USA Boxing National Championships have been held annually since 1888, making it the longest running amateur boxing tournament in the United States, and the event consistently showcases future Olympians and future world champions. Former champions include Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Muhammad Ali (aka Cassius Clay) and Hemingway.

What is it that truly creates champions?

“The key to my success is I don’t believe I’m successful,” said Hemingway. “If you want something you’re never done, once you get it then you go after something else.”

Well, 2012 is the year that Tika has the chance to fulfill her destiny by winning the Olympic gold medal. So make some room over at the sports museum, because some “Bling-Bling” is on the way.

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