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Women Who Kick Ass

Everywhere we turn, it seems as if our city has produced another hard-core female athlete: a tough, toned woman who can bench-press more than your boyfriend (and look hot doing it). Meet four up-and-comers.

SARA AMATO, 27, a.k.a. Sara Del Rey SPORT Shimmer professional wrestling BASE Lives in Philadelphia; wrestles in Berwyn TRAINING REGIMEN Works out every day; in-ring training at least twice a week PIVOTAL CAREER MOMENT “After graduating high school, the only thing that interested me was wrestling. I didn’t think I would make a career out of it.” WORST INJURY Both of her shoulders dislocated GUILTY PLEASURE Eating NEXT FIGHT Defends her Shimmer championship on April 26th in Berwyn. For info, shimmerwrestling.com or myspace.com/saradelrey

 

FELICE HERRIG, 23, a.k.a. Lil’ Bulldog SPORT Mixed martial arts BASE Buffalo Grove TRAINING REGIMEN Fifteen minutes of jumping rope and 15 minutes of shadowboxing, followed by 20 three-minute rounds on the heavy bag, five to ten rounds of mitt training with a trainer, and sprints on a treadmill PIVOTAL CAREER MOMENT “When I was 18, my brother was in martial arts, so I went with him. My first day there I said, ‘I am going to be a fighter.’ Three months later, I had my first fight against a seven-year fighter. I lost, but I had a rematch against her a couple years later and won.” GUILTY PLEASURE “Every time before a fight, I have my toenails painted, get a manicure and pedicure, have my hair braided.” NEXT FIGHT On World Combat League, a team fight show on the sports channel Versus, as a member of the St. Louis Enforcers. For info, worldcombatleague.com or versus.com

 

BETH HORN, 34, a.k.a. Venom SPORT American Gladiators BASE Greektown BEHIND THE ALIAS “I’m sweet and friendly, yet I will strike at any given moment.” TRAINING REGIMEN Largely anaerobic training with Bob Dixon at HiFi Personal Fitness, and through the River North Symmetry Center, where she is a trainer; also does gymnastics and “a little jujitsu” PIVOTAL CAREER MOMENT “I became National Fitness Champion of 2000. That was the turning point for my career.” NEXT FIGHT Season 2 of American Gladiators, which airs on NBC this summer. For info, bethhorn.com or nbc.com/American_Gladiators/

 

RITA FIGUEROA, 38, a.k.a. La Güera SPORT Boxing BASE Lincoln Square TRAINING REGIMEN Runs five days a week; teaches classes at the Degerberg Martial Arts Academy on Lincoln Avenue, where she hits bags and spars PIVOTAL CAREER MOMENT “My first pro fight. It was just like, ‘You know what? Here I am.’ I had some amateur fights, did some kickboxing, but the first pro boxing fight, it was like, ‘Wow.’” WORST INJURY A broken cheekbone from a head butt GUILTY PLEASURE “Sitting in a nice hot tub with a book." NEXT FIGHT March 28th at the Aragon Ballroom. For info, 8countproductions.com

 

Photography: (Herrig) Courtesy of Felice Herrig, (Amato) Gilda Pasquil, (Horn) Courtesy of NBC, (Figueroa) Audrey Cho

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