During her doctoral classes in physical therapy, Destiny Chearino helps ease her patients’ pain. Outside the exam room, she inflicts it.
Chearino, a 22-year-old with a long blond ponytail and sweet smile, is one of the best amateur female fighters in the country, having decisively claimed the light welterweight spot on Team USA in January. She says it’s a mistake to think of boxing as brutal: “It’s an art form. Every sport has injuries.”
Growing up in Warwick, R.I., Chearino first entered the ring to strengthen her karate skills, and found it fit like a glove. “It’s unbelievably mentally draining,” she says, “but you learn a lot about yourself in there: how much you can take, how bad you want it.”
The training is hard, she says; the dieting and self control, miserable. There’s no way to fit in a social life. But this year she’ll fight internationally and drill at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado while continuing her classes at Kingston. “There are days when I struggle,” she says. “But don’t listen to anyone telling you that you can’t achieve your goals. You control your outcome.”
— Pippa Jack