Meet the seven year old girl boxer whose spars and jabs have earned her a massive following.
Pint-sized pugilist Ruby Tucker may stand just 4ft tall, but she is already well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a professional boxer.
Featherweight Ruby trains with her dad Kijuan Tucker, 36, four times-a-week and, in her downtime, hones her sparring skills by studying YouTube videos of boxing’s all time greats.
The young athlete, from South Brunswick, New Jersey, started boxing when she was just three and says her favorite thing about the sport is the opportunity to land some blows on her dad.
Ruby said: “I get to spend a lot of time with my dad and I get to beat him up sometimes.
“Every single day I tell my class that I want to be a boxer – that’s what I’ve been thinking about my whole entire life and what I’ve been training for.
“It makes me a stronger person but it also makes me more confident. If I get sad, I get my mind right and think about being a boxer.
“My favorite moves are hooks and upper cuts because they are the strongest punches
and they can knock people out easily.”
Kijuan, an avid fan of boxing, introduced his daughter to the sport with the full support of her mom Theodora, 34, a law student.
He said: “We want Ruby to know how to defend herself. Her form is really good for someone that age.
“She’s very cerebral – she likes to think about her next step and her next move. Her work ethic and her toughness are her best attributes.”
The dad and daughter team wake up at 6am to train in the local park four days-a-week.
Proud dad Kijuan added: “She’ll do stretching and she’ll run 30 laps around the basketball court.
“Our main training is on drill: we work on jabs, head movement, proper form when throwing a punch and footwork.”
Kijuan uploads videos of their sparring matches to the Instagram account, @teamrubynj, which now has 11,000 followers.
He believes that Ruby has what it takes to become a professional boxer and has opened a youth boxing gym in New Jersey this month to introduce other youngsters to the sport.
Kijuan said: “Boxing teaches life lessons in general. It helps you build confidence and self esteem.
“It teaches Ruby that if you get knocked down, you have to get back up.
“Things could change but we hope she’ll go through the process of becoming a
“We want her to be the best fighter ever, male or female.
“We’re opening a youth boxing gym in my hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.
“I want to play my part in helping kids out and giving them something positive to do.”