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Sumya 'the island girl' Anani, 4x World Champion Boxer, was voted Most Avoided Female Fighter in the World in 2004 and 2005.
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Everyone needs daily doses of Inspiration!  As a yoga teacher, I especially love the word Inspiration.  It means:

 1.  The drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.

2.   Something inspired, as an idea.

3.  To influence or animate with an idea or purpose.

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.


 I have been inspired and I know that I am truly blessed!  I want to 'pass it on.'  I feel especially drawn to teenagers, so I've started to speak publicly at high schools and juvenile detention centers.  But I am also available for your club, business, organization, or women's group.

 Topics include:

  • Empowerment!
  • Realizing your personal Potential! (Potential...Another favorite word.)
  • Understanding how Yoga philosophy can improve the quality of your life!  

I am blessed and so very grateful that I met an incredible man named Barry Becker, who has inspired me beyond belief.  He is my boxing trainer.

  "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~ Albert Schweitzer

 Barry Becker, through the martial art of boxing, yes, he taught me how to fight and how to protect myself.  But first and foremost, he helped teach me to believe in myself and he rekindled my inner spirit!  I never made any big money in boxing, but what I received from Barry and my career in boxing far outweighs any dollar amount that I could have ever made.  

Barry, whatever you saw in me that day I was wrestling on the beach with the Fireman before I started boxing, thank you for seeing it and bringing it out in me.  Learning to believe in myself is a priceless gift!  I owe you so much and I don't think I'll ever be able to repay you!  Thank you for what you've given me!  I want you to know that you have been the biggest influence in my life, besides my son.  You have made an impression in my life and the memories will last forever.  I will never forget and am SO grateful for...

  • ...all the times you arranged your work schedule around me, so you could be there for 99.9999% of every bag workout I ever had!  You knew how much it meant to me.  You knew just the right thing to say (most of the time) that could light the fire in my britches.
  • ...all the times you yelled at me, innocent little me.  ;)
  • ...the many times you blew my nose between rounds because I never could learn, and didn't really want to learn how to blow the burgers
  • ...all the times you sacrificed sleep because you knew I loved training outside under the stars and moon, sometimes at midnight or even 1 a.m.!  No other trainer in the world has done this!  I will never forget you sitting in the chair at my favorite outdoor 'ring' and yelling directions over the sound of my music.  You know I loved my music because like you, it inspired me too!  My best workouts were witnessed by you,
  • ...the many times you gave me a drink between rounds, even if half the drink ended up running down my chin!  Ha-ha. 
  • ...all the stories of your many street fights as a kid with Dick Wheatley, Burke Castle, and all the bad boys from the good ole' days.  I wish I could remember the good ole' days, when there were no guns and knives, and you always became buddies with the guy you fought!  People today need to learn this.
  • ...all the stories of your many street fights as an adult too...ha-ha.   See what a troublemaker you are.  ;) 
  • ...all the bills you paid for me so I could commit myself to training.
  • ...ALL the sacrifices you made for me so I could commit myself to training. 
  • ...all the times you would introduce me to someone by saying "I always wanted to train a girl to fight, but I never wanted to train one that could kick my ass!"  I loved the way you joked as if it were really true (Yea right).  I know that you'd whip the Jolly Green Giant if he stepped into your office! 
  • ...all the times you shared yourself with me and 'our' son, and for being such a great role model for both of us!
  • ...all the jokes and laughs, even if you were mostly laughing at me.
  • ...all the times you were my rock, my support, and my refuge... which was always!  Your constant encouragement, constant support, and constant belief in me was the glue behind the The Island Girl, the "Power of Anani." If there were an Island Girl Fan Club, you would be the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, etc., etc.  Well, okay, maybe not the secretary because you suck at note-taking and organization, and not the treasurer either, because you suck at recording numbers.  Ha-ha.  Oh, we can't be good at everything!
  • ...all your fuel, passion, and energy that drove me to becoming the 'Most Avoided Female Fighter in the World' two years in a row! 
  • ...And so many more that I can't even begin to write here.  

I remember the argument we had one night after a workout (the only one we ever had...HA-HA-HA!) when, all of a sudden, you blurted out "You know what your problem is.  Your problem is that you don't believe in yourself!"  I don't think you noticed how those words rocked me.  It was like you were reading my heart so intimately.  I, like everyone in the world at some point in their life, was really struggling with self-esteem issues, and you saw it!  No one else saw it.  Everyone else thought I was so brave, thought I could do anything, try anything, thought I was afraid of nothing!  Being successful in boxing was a great cover that hid my insecurity really well from most people.  But you saw my fears, you saw my insecurity.  And because of your patience and constant reinforcement, you, a pair of boxing gloves, and a punching bag became the necessary reconstruction of my self esteem.  Of course, God orchestrated for you and I to even meet, so God gets credit too!  J   

I will never forget the look in your blue, blue eyes, on many occasions, when you leaned down in front of me, stared straight into my eyes, almost through me, and said "Sumya, you can do this.  I know you can do this!"  That fire in your blue eyes, the sound of your voice, and the absolute confidence in your words will be an image in my mind forever.  I love those baby blues!  That fire in your blue eyes will drive me to be the best I can be, in everything I pursue, as long as I live! 

 Not only did you introduce me to boxing, but you also introduced me to Jamaica .  I'll never forget the first time I met you.  The first words out of your mouth the first time you approached me at Bally's in Kansas City were, "You look like you just stepped off the boat from Jamaica !"  Looking back to that conversation now, I can intimately see how, for each person, destiny lays its mighty hand on us.  To think...after that casual sentence, that I would end up living in Jamaica for 2 years with my son, and then upon my return, The Island Girl would be born!  Whoa!  And what an impact on my life Jamaica has made as well!  That's why I'm committed to my new endeavor with Fighting for Peace Imports.  (See Empowered by Activism)  I want to help the people of Jamaica .  I want to empower them the way you have empowered me.  I remember in that first conversation you also said to me, "You should do something with those muscles besides just look good!  You should box." And there began a friendship and a journey down a road I would never have taken.  I had no clue then how my life was about to change.  That seemingly innocent conversation was so significant in my life.  I think it took 2 years of your gentle, patient, yet insistent coaxing before I even put a pair of gloves on.  I'm sorry I'm a little slow and I know I can sometimes be hard headed!  Hey, but you are too.  I guess that comes with the territory of being a fighter!

I think about the 1946 Christmas movie "It's A Wonderful Life," starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.  Remember, he gets so depressed and wishes he was never born!  Then his wish is granted, and the entire movie shows what other people's lives would have been like if he was never born.  Sometimes I think about how my life would be without you, Barry...and I can't!!  I just can't see it.  I would be scared to see it.  You have made that BIG of an impression in my life!  Thank you! 

  Saying thank you just doesn't seem enough for all that you have done for me.  I never made the money in boxing to buy you the corvette you always wanted, and I probably wouldn't have bought it anyway unless they came up with a hybrid corvette.  Ha-ha... So I finally figured out that the only way I can even try to repay you is to try to be that inspiration for others.  This gift I received, I must now give back to others.  (It's recycling... See, how many times have I told you about the importance of recycling!  We all have to do our part to save the planet!  You have a lot to learn from me too, ya know!)   

So, I dedicate all my future motivational lectures to you.  You are and will always be my Inspiration and the person that rekindled my inner spirit!  Thank you!!  I will never forget you.  You have changed my life for the better!  I love you!  I love you with every inspiration I take!  The B vitamin's are the energy vitamins.  The B has to stand for Barry!  You have been my energy vitamin for the last 11 years!  Becoming a 4X world champion means nothing compared to having been blessed to know a man named Barry Becker.  Thank you for the daily dose of YOU!!  You mean so much to me.   

Any dream or goal that I accomplish is because of you.  I want you to know that you are the one that lit the fire in me.  Thank you for bursting my inner fire into flame!  The 'Spirit of Chance' sent you to push me from behind.  I can't believe how lucky I am!  Thank you Barry!  Thank you God!  And thank you Mama Ann!   

Barry 'The Brawler' Becker...You are the bravest man I know!  You are the sweetest man I know!  Your mama should have told me that sometimes, you can even be the meanest man I know.  Ha-ha!  Yea, don't go getting a big ole' head thinking that you're soooooo wonderful.  You may be wonderful, but you're not perfect!  I could write another letter detailing all the ways you irritate me too!  Ha-ha!  Just remember the poster in Jamaica ...There is no finish line!  And that goes for us as individuals being a constant Work in Progress too.   

I've always known and have always told you that you coulda' been the lightweight champion of the world!  Well, scratch that!   

Barry, you are The Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of my world!  

Thankfully, with so much appreciation and love, 

Your Jamaican Sensation Island Girl,

Sumya  "Barry's Bombshell"  Anani

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