Angelique (Angel) Bovee began her competitive martial arts career in high school but it wasn’t until she picked up the gloves after college that she became enamored with the power, speed, and grace of Olympic boxing. Taking her newly found love on the road, she set her sights on competing in the 2004 Olympic Games, which were widely expected to be the first Olympics to include women’s boxing. In 2000, Angel won her first national title by winning the gold at the U.S. National Golden Gloves in Augusta, GA. In 2001, she won gold again and was crowned the U.S. light-middleweight Champion being ranked #1 in the US. In 2002, she was able to pull off another gold medal performance in a new weight class, being crowned the U.S. light-welterweight Champion.
Angel was one of only six athletes in the country to represent Team USA at the first two World Championships ever contested for female boxers. She went on to win multiple national titles and was ranked #8 in the world, showcasing her talent from Istanbul to Madison Square Garden. The focus of Angel’s competitive career drastically changed when she reached the mandatory retirement age for Olympic boxers without having realized her Olympic dream simply because she is female. Taking her fight outside the ring, Angel’s new mission was to work to ensure that no other female boxer would be denied their Olympic dream simply because of their gender.
In 2006, she was elected as the only female member on the USA Boxing Board of Directors, also serving as the Chair of the USAB Athlete Advisory Council where she fought tirelessly for equal respect, training resources, media exposure, and Olympic inclusion for female boxers. Through the work of many pioneering advocates, women’s boxing finally made its debut at the London 2012 Olympic Games, making London the first Olympic Games in history to have men and women represented in all sports. Angel was ringside to complete a personal journey and witness the first U.S. female boxer, 17-year-old Clarissa Shields take home the gold.
Upon retirement, Angel received the Diversity scholarship from the SUNY system and completed a master’s degree in Recreation Management. Her thesis was on the constraints and facilitators facing U.S. elite female boxers in their quest for Olympic Gold. In August of 2011, she was hired by the Adecco Group and the U.S. Olympic Committee to be a Career Coach for the Athlete Career and Education (ACE) program, an initiative that supports Olympic and Paralympic athletes by providing career services and job placement assistance during and after their athletic careers to assist in a smoother transition from the field of play to their next professional endeavor. In 2017, Angel was voted to serve on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athlete Career Program Steering Committee to help provide guidance and best practices to the global program.
As an out LGBT athlete and advocate for her entire career, Angel Bovee has been invited to speak for various community groups and her message is one of risk-taking, resiliency, and redefinition as her fight in and out of the ring has been an incredible journey of life lessons.