Monday, November 12 2018
That she’d commit to helping other cancer patients and their families immediately after losing her own mother says almost everything you need to know about Laura Teicher. She never ever stays down. We met when she signed on to fight in the 2018 NYC Haymakers for Hope event. She was nervous at the time because she was getting a late start on her training; she was delayed because her mom had lost a heroic fight with cancer just three weeks prior.
Four months later, there’s no tough sparring round or rough training session that can get her to quit, but when we first met over email this July, Laura herself didn’t know how much fight she had in her.
“Full disclosure, Steph,” she wrote, “I have small twig arms, cannot for the life of me do anything before 9am, I am completely uncoordinated and awkward at anything athletic - and have never once put on a pair of boxing gloves. So, this should be a fun challenge for everyone involved including myself! I do have however, all the motive in the world given my recent loss with my mum, and only two years prior I lost my uncle to prostate cancer.”
As Laura heads into fight night this week, this disclaimer is almost laughable. She was in the gym every day at 7am. She has graceful footwork and moves around the ring with ease. And those small twig arms? None of her sparring partners let their guards down for fear of her mean straight right.
It’s easy to love Haymakers fighters, but Laura made a special name for herself at Mendez Gym. Coaches go out of their way to make time in busy training schedules to run combinations with her. Her training partners wait for her to finish workouts to give her tips and feedback. When she spars, the room swells with shouts of encouragement and cheers as she throws her famous right.
Laura’s sparring partner Karen Masuko says she’s always inspired by Haymakers fighters, but has a special place in her heart for her newest teammate. “When I heard she had just lost her mom and that’s why she was late to begin her training I knew she was a fighter already. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they throw a punch but even more by how they take a punch. I remember hitting her with a right hand early on and at first I thought ‘uh oh’ this is it. But to my pleasant surprise she got pissed and finished the round! That’s when I knew we had a fighter on our hands! Now we’re in business!!! Let’s do this!!”
Their teammate Sarah Cunningham agrees. “Laura’s mindset has strengthened so much through this journey. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her. In the early days when she was finding everything overwhelming, I always reminded Laura why she’s doing this because that for me is what gives her the fighting spirit. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to lose a parent and to throw yourself into something so intense so soon after her mom’s passing. She inspired me to get outta bed every morning and fight for life! She’s trained hard, built incredible stamina and I can’t wait for her to get in that ring on fight night and shine!”
Everyone in Laura’s corner knows how lonely boxing can be. But they see in her a new fighter who commits to her training, trusts fully in the process, and fights, even in the face of profound loss. It’s hard not to cheer her on.
Laura wants to win on Thursday, and like her tough opponent, she has all the boxing training to do so. But if the fight goes Laura’s way, it’ll be her incredible grit that gets her hand raised; in grief and in discouragement and in exhaustion and in profound loss and in anger, Laura Teicher always fights back.
WRITTEN BY STEPHANIE KENT