TWIN FALLS — Kendra Reeves’ introduction into boxing was a simple one — she just wanted to lose weight.

But after only a year of boxing, she’s ranked ninth in the country in her weight class and on her way to the National Golden Gloves Tournament.

It’s the first time ever that Golden Gloves has sanctioned a national women’s competition.

Reeves took first place in the Rocky Mountain Golden Gloves Regional Tournament on April 7.

She carries herself with a bubbly enthusiasm and is visibly excited when she talks about boxing. Training has become a way of life for her: She often works out three times a day.

“She wakes herself up at one in the morning to get a work out in,” her fiancé, Jason Samargis said.

Samargis, who also coaches Reeves, suggested she take up boxing as a way to get in better shape. He’s has been boxing since he was 8 years old and said he mainly sticks to the basics for training, but he adapts for each fighter he coaches and works with their strengths.

The partnership between an athlete and a coach is one of motivating each other, Samargis said. The real key to success is that the athlete has to want to succeed, he said.

“I was insecure,” Reeves said. “I wasn’t sure where I was going in life. But boxing has changed my life.”

The couple enjoys boxing so much that in September they opened up the Family Boxing and Fitness gym in Twin Falls.

The Golden Gloves are a series of amateur boxing tournaments that started in 1928. To fight at the national tournament, a boxer must win at regionals, and to go there, they have to win State Golden Gloves.

The National Golden Gloves is in Omaha, Neb., from May 14 to May 19. Steven Pelster, the Franchise Delegate of the Midwest Golden Gloves, said he put in a bid two years ago to host the National tournament.

“If you win national, it means that you are top four in the country,” he said.

Deseree Jamison, ranked third in the nation, said that her April 6 fight with Reeves in Utah was a war. Jamison said Reeves was bleeding a lot, so much that Jamison could taste the blood.

Jamison felt she won the fight that night, but politics gave Reeves the win.

“I wish her the best of luck, and I’m sure that I will see her again,” Jamison said. “And this time when I see blood and taste it, I’m going for the kill.”

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