Puerto Rican teen set to make history at largest Muay Thai tournament

Andrea Bonilla will be the first Puerto Rican athlete to participate in the largest Muay Thai amateur tournament.

Andrea Bonilla will be the first Puerto Rican athlete to participate in the largest Muay Thai amateur tournament.

Like many young girls her age, Andrea Bonilla likes to paint, put on makeup, and draw. However, the future of the 15-year-old could be very different as she will be the first girl born, raised, and trained in Puerto Rico to participate in the largest Muay Thai amateur tournament in North and South America, the Thai Boxing Association World Championship (TBA). The competition will be in Iowa in June. Over 1,000 Muay Thai fighters are expected. "It feels like a great source of pride. It is truly a source of pride for women, for Puerto Rican women, and to continue motivating other women who practice these combat sports, who are not afraid," the young athlete told Primera Hora.

RELATED: Damian Priest makes history as WWE’s first Puerto Rican World Champion in 50 years

Martial arts have been part of her life since she was little. At the age of 4, she began karate classes and two years later, she learned taekwondo. In 2021, she started learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and at the end of that same year, she started Muay Thai. Last year she began Olympic Wrestling. Currently, she spends almost 90% of her day training. Every day, she dedicates two hours to Muay Thai, which is her passion. “I am clear that I am going to continue doing this sport until I can't do it anymore. And if I can't, I'll try to be able to, because it's something that fulfills me so much. I want this to be part of my career. I want to study architecture, but this martial arts thing is something I want to continue doing, and if I can have a career with this, I'm going to do it, because this is what fulfills me," she told the newspaper. Bonilla wishes to compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) and be signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The athlete created a GoFund Me page to raise funds for her participation in June’s competition.

By Mivette Vega

April 9, 2024

Andrea Bonilla will be the first Puerto Rican athlete to participate in the largest Muay Thai amateur tournament.

Like many young girls her age, Andrea Bonilla likes to paint, put on makeup, and draw.

However, the future of the 15-year-old could be very different as she will be the first girl born, raised, and trained in Puerto Rico to participate in the largest Muay Thai amateur tournament in North and South America, the Thai Boxing Association World Championship (TBA).

The competition will be in Iowa in June. Over 1,000 Muay Thai fighters are expected.

“It feels like a great source of pride. It is truly a source of pride for women, for Puerto Rican women, and to continue motivating other women who practice these combat sports, who are not afraid,” the young athlete told Primera Hora.

RELATED: Damian Priest makes history as WWE’s first Puerto Rican World Champion in 50 years

Martial arts have been part of her life since she was little. At the age of 4, she began karate classes and two years later, she learned taekwondo. In 2021, she started learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and at the end of that same year, she started Muay Thai. Last year she began Olympic Wrestling.

Currently, she spends almost 90% of her day training. Every day, she dedicates two hours to Muay Thai, which is her passion.

“I am clear that I am going to continue doing this sport until I can’t do it anymore. And if I can’t, I’ll try to be able to, because it’s something that fulfills me so much. I want this to be part of my career. I want to study architecture, but this martial arts thing is something I want to continue doing, and if I can have a career with this, I’m going to do it, because this is what fulfills me,” she told the newspaper.

Bonilla wishes to compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) and be signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The athlete created a GoFund Me page to raise funds for her participation in June’s competition.

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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