In Recess

Outside of the Box

Houston attorney Sophia George spars in and out of the courtroom

Interview by Adam Faderewski

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Sophia George, of Houston, only stepped into the boxing ring a short while ago but she’s already been recognized at her gym, Savarese Fight Fit, for her skills. Photo courtesy of Sophia George.

Starting your day with a fight doesn't seem ideal, but for Sophia George, her morning sparring sessions serve as motivation for the rest of the day. George has been interested in boxing since she was a child, but it wasn’t until she began practicing as a civil litigator and needed an outlet that she found herself in the gym taking a lesson. Once in the ring, she quickly realized she loved the many facets of the “sweet science” and began working in as many sessions as possible, which became quite challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic while balancing her work as an attorney and responsibilities as a mom. Though she’s just a little over a year on her pugilistic path, George has already been recognized as the member of the month at her gym and is expanding her repertoire with the addition of kickboxing.

Out of all the workouts you could choose, why boxing? Were there any other martial arts in the running?
I have been interested in boxing since I was young. I decided to pick up the sport as an adult because I was looking for an outlet. I have always been petite, but I did not feel I was getting the cardio I needed to be healthy. I wanted to do something that would get my blood pumping, make me stronger, and give me the opportunity to stay disciplined and competitive. Boxing checked off all those boxes. I took a private class with Lou Savarese at Savarese Fight Fit in May 2019. Lou is a former heavyweight champion with an impeccable record. I was immediately hooked. His focus on my technique and skills helped me really fall in love with the sport. I became a member at the gym shortly after and took more private sessions with him before building up the courage to join some of the bigger group classes. At the time, there were no other sports in the running. Now that I have been boxing for over a year, I got the chance to try out kickboxing with one of the trainers. I fell in love after a few classes and I am considering making the switch!

How long have you been boxing? How many times a week do you get to work out?
Officially, since May 2019. My goal is to work out five times a week but that always varies depending on what my work and personal schedule look like. I try not to be too hard on myself if I can’t work out as often as I want. The pandemic certainly made it more difficult to be in the gym that often! I learned that at-home workouts were effective in keeping me healthy and shadow boxing was key to keeping focused on technique when I could not make it into the gym. Being disciplined in this sport requires more than just being in the gym every day. It requires practice. Shadow boxing on top of at-home workouts proved to be essential. I am sure I look a little like Rocky when I’m shadow boxing outside in the neighborhood but no one has ever given me a weird look yet.

When do you find time to get in sparring and workouts?
I learned to make time, but I am flexible with myself. As a litigator and mother, it is unrealistic to expect to find the time to go to the gym every day. Things come up. Generally, I like to go work out in the morning after dropping my son off at school. It is the best way to start my day. I feel energized and ready to take on the world!

What are you favorite parts and your least favorite parts?
My favorite part of boxing is that I feel like I am always in a competition with myself. I want to know how hard I can push myself. I really don’t have a least favorite part. I am lucky to be a member at one of the best boxing gyms in the city. I feel like I am part of a family of people from all walks of life with the same goals as me. It is motivating and inspiring.

Any accomplishments so far related to your boxing or workouts?
I consider every day I go in an accomplishment, considering time is so limited for me. Watching my physical and mental health flourish from staying committed to the sport has done more for me than any other activity.

Any boxing- or workout-related injuries? How'd they happen?
When I first started out, I would often injure my wrists. I was not properly wrapping my hands and I didn’t know how to properly throw punches. Thankfully, all of those issues went away with some experience. It has been a long time since I have had to show up to work in a wrist brace.

Any future plans to go toe-to-toe in the ring?
The jury is still out on this matter, ha ha.

How does boxing help with your work-life balance? Any lessons learned from the ring that carry over to your practice?
It helps in so many ways. Every time I get in front of that bag is an opportunity to be better than I was the day before. That kind of motivation carries into all other aspects of my life. I leave the gym feeling like I am unstoppable. It gives me the positivity and motivation to take on whatever the rest of the day brings me. It makes me a better mother and a better attorney. Boxing is more than just throwing a few haphazard punches. It is a puzzle. Speed and technique are just as important as force. On the mornings that I go to the gym, I feel like I am more focused and precise in every other aspect of my life. It is one of the many things that keeps me coming back. TBJ

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