U.S. Olympic women's boxing team captain Ginny Fuchs to turn pro

Ginny Fuchs, the captain of the 2020 U.S. Olympic women's boxing team in Tokyo, told ESPN she has decided to turn professional.

The 33-year-old Houston native will begin her career at flyweight, the weight she has competed at over the past eight years -- including in Tokyo, where she reached the second round before losing to Bulgaria's Stoyka Krasteva.

Fuchs, who trains out of Baby Bull Boxing Academy in Houston, won the silver medal in the 2019 Pan American Games, falling to Colombia's Ingrit Valencia in the final.

She had always considered turning pro from soon after she first picked up boxing as a college student at LSU, but when the Olympics became an option, the former runner decided to make that a goal before making the switch.

It turned into a decade-long journey leading to an 88-22 record with three knockouts. That included missing the 2016 Olympic team and then another four-year cycle leading to the 2020 Games.

"I was still considering turning pro, but me and my coach talked about it and my first goal and dream was to go to the Olympics and be an Olympian and win gold and as a female boxer, we thought it would be better anyways to go to the Olympics before I turned pro," Fuchs said. "So we're like, all right, we'll go to Tokyo. I know I'll make it, and then I'll turn pro."

She also participated in the Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry discussion series "The Me You Can't See," before this summer's Olympics, where she explained her life with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and opened up about her mental health, including inpatient treatment in 2019.

She told ESPN that boxing has helped her manage her OCD. In some ways, waiting to turn pro might have inadvertently helped Fuchs. USA Boxing, Fuchs said, helped her raise money for treatment.

Fuchs is unsure when her pro debut will be, but said her plan is to compete at flyweight before eventually moving up to junior bantamweight or bantamweight. She fought current WBC flyweight champion Marlen Esparza six times in her amateur career, according to BoxRec, with a 2-4 record.

She has won the past two meetings against Esparza, though, before Esparza turned pro. She also felt the time was right to make the move because of the success of Claressa Shields and Mikaela Mayer, her former USA Boxing teammates who reached the 2016 Olympics, turned pro and have emerged as two of the biggest stars in the sport.

"This is the time where women's professional boxing is growing," Fuchs said. "It's still not there but it's definitely grown in the last four years so I was kind of looking at that. "And I think it was, regardless if I had fought in the 2016 Olympics or not, I think it was a good plan for me to go now."