Boxer Laura Deanovic Discovers Her True Calling at Age 40

Boxer lands a left

Laura lands a left to the head of Claudia Amaro during their professional fight in Novato, CA. October 19, 2012.

Laura Deanovic is a Calculus teacher. She is also a drummer in a symphony. She is a boxer.

In 2006, at age forty, she discovered boxing. At first she went to the gym to use boxing for fitness. Then she thought she would try competitive amateur boxing. After winning Golden Gloves in her age group, she decided to try boxing professionally.

Professional boxing was a completely different level of competition. Suddenly she was boxing against women less than half her age. She lost her first three fights. In the third she broke the orbit around her eye and had to have surgery. But she did not give up.

Laura Deanovic trains with her coach

Laura Deanovic takes ring instruction from her manager Paul Wade at the 3rd Street Boxing Gym in San Francisco, CA on October 8, 2012. Using the hand pads helps Laura with her timing
and endurance.


In 2012, I met Laura and started documenting her efforts as she prepared for her fourth professional fight against a women who had beaten her previously, Claudia Amaro. I spent several training sessions at the 3rd Street Boxing Gym where she trains with her manager, gym owner Paul Wade and her trainer Ed Gutierrez.

I found the idea of hanging out for extended periods and getting to know my subject and her partners, very entertaining and enlightening. It is freeing to work without lights and without directing my subjects. Shooting black and white also has freed me up to forget about light temperature and color and focus on the composition.

Laura was a willing and compelling subject. Her determination and grace are uplifting to me. The culture and history around boxing oozed from every minute I spent with her and her partners. They respect the sport and each other.

Boxer Raises Arms in Victory

An instant before her opponent and the judge, Laura and Ed realize that Laura has won her fight. The announcer preceded the announcment of her unanomous victory with the words, “And winning her first professional bout.” Novato, CA, October 19, 2012.


After documenting training, sparring, the weigh in and preparation for the fight, I was happy to see Laura’s arms lifted in victory. Laura still trains and instructs at the 3rd Street Gym in my neighborhood of Dogpatch in San Francisco. Last time I spoke with her, she was preparing for another fight. You can see the whole series of photos in the Boxer Laura Deanovic Gallery on my website.
Woman Boxer Sits in the ring

A few weeks after her fight, Laura Deanovic takes a break from training to pose for a portrait. The cut above her left eye from the fight is still not fully healed. October 30. 2012.

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