NEW YORK CITY - Former boxing champion and mixed martial artist Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton was honored with the Trailblazer Award by The Shadow League in New York City.
"I’m honored to be the first Asian-American woman to receive this award from The Shadow League," she said.
Julaton retired on March after 11 years in combat sports to "move forward to her next journey."
The Shadow League is a site that gives voice to journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.
"I think one of the great thing about our honorees in the last couple of years have been that every time they smash a door open, they bring people in behind them," said Yufuf Khan, general manager and senior vice president of The Shadow League.
Other honorees include former world champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins and sportscaster Gus Johnson.
Earlier today, I spoke to my long time promoter/advisor Mr. Allan Tremblay who has been a father, a friend and mentor throughout my entire professional sports journey. I told him it was time for me to move on from fighting. After that very deep and emotional conversation, I spoke to Mr. Scott Coker next and thanked him for allowing me to be a part of @BellatorMMA. I'd like to thank Mr. @LouDibella and his Team @DibellaEnt for all their efforts to putting together a boxing match for me. I'd like to thank @HeatherTheHeat for sharing the cage with me and I wish her all the very best in her combat sports career both boxing and MMA. As a competitor inside the ring and cage, I'm confident in leaving combat sports fully knowing there are so many wonderful, passionate and hardworking women continuing to carry the torch as a guiding light for the bright future of our arena. For all who have been positive and continue to create a stage for all my sisters in the arts, all the organizations I have fought for...Thank you. I consider myself fortunate to have had my Orion Sports Management family giving me the global stage and opportunities I received to compete at the highest level of Boxing and MMA. So many memories flash through my mind as I write this. Moving forward to my next journey, I am officially retiring from professional fighting. Thank you everyone. I'm truly humbled and deeply honored for you all allowing me into your lives and hearts. I'm forever grateful. Sincerely, Ana "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs
After retiring from professional fighting, Julaton said she will be partnering with grassroots organizations to share her experience in youth community programs.
"It’s nice to be on the other side of the ring. There’s a whole new world that I’m being exposed to and being able to spark that fire that I had in competing. It’s like reigniting," she said.
Julaton became the first ever World Boxing Organization (WBO) female champion in North America. The WBO had only recognized male fighters until she won it in 2009.
She ended her career with a 14-4-1 record in boxing and a 2-4 win-loss slate in MMA. - report from Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)