Eleven-year-old Emily "Noodle" Cooper will represent Casal's Boxing Club at the National Golden Girls Boxing Championships July 7-12 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Casal's Boxing Club at 1767 Maryland Ave., Niagara Falls, is holding a fundraiser from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 29, to support Emily and her boxing club teammates. The price of the ticket includes a Chiavetta's barbecue chicken dinner, a Chinese auction and exhibition boxing matches, including one by Emily.
Emily, currently a fifth-grader at Errick Road Elementary School, has been training at Casal's for 1-1/2 years, and truly loves the sport.
"I started boxing 1-1/2 years ago after doing tae kwon do for three years," she said. "I liked sparring, but wanted a more physical work out, and wanted to try boxing. My dad suggested we try Casal's, and, after the first time I sparred, I fell in love with boxing. I told my dad that night that someday I want to be a fighter."
Boxing is a family affair both at home and at the club.
"My dad is my biggest supporter; boxing makes my mom nervous," Emily said. "My brother, Wyatt, also boxes with me, so it's also some good family time.
"Coach Ray is a true inspiration. He has shown me that if you believe in yourself anything is possible. ... My dream is to bring a championship back to our club, for Coach Ray and my family."
By the way, Emily said "Noodle" is a nickname her father gave her when she was born. " 'Noodle' is what he calls me everyday. I'm his noodle."