Maëlys Richol

Maëlys Richol

Engineering Sciences student and high-level boxer

Work and perseverance always pay off in the end.

In the first year of Engineering Sciences, the French Junior Boxing Champion, Maëlys Richol was able to create openings in the face of adversity and combine studies and a career in the ring.

Maëlys Richol was first destined for tennis. Introduced to the sport by her father at the age of four, the Grenoble native joined the French tennis team in 2016. “Without being high-level athletes, my parents have always been great sports fans“, she confides. A practice and a state of mind that allow her to develop numerous skills, both physical and mental.

Injured, but not K.O.

Several injuries put an end to her tennis career in 2018, but not to her sporting career! She was forced to stop competing in classes, but the teenager did not give up and instead discovered a new passion for boxing. “Like many people, I had prejudices about this sport. I saw it as violent and not necessarily very thoughtful. One day, I came across, completely by chance, a video of a boxer named Vasyl Lomachenko, remembers the champion. His approach totally fascinated me. He boxed so well and intelligently that my prejudices went away and, during the week, I went for a trial at the Montgeron club near my home." The young girl immediately took to this new discipline and reached the international level in just three years thanks, in particular, to the experience acquired in tennis. She first completed a scouting internship in 2021 when she was selected, then an internship at the Center for Resources, Expertise and Sports Performance (Creps) in Nancy before joining the French Team in 2021.

Even if it is sometimes physically and mentally difficult to practice boxing on a daily basis, it is a real pleasure for her. Above all, she loves competitions. “When I had to stop tennis, I was afraid I would no longer find the sensations I had experienced during matches. But when I stepped into the ring for the first time, the feeling was incredible! It's difficult to describe. It's a bit like going on thrilling rides: a mixture of adrenaline, determination and enormous concentration."

A melee between studies and sport

And Maëlys Richol needs this determination to pursue her career as a high-level boxer and her degree in engineering sciences at Sorbonne University. “I chose this university both for its reputation, but also for the specific training system it offers to high-level athletes,” she explains. A system which allows her to adapt her schedule according to her training and to validate each year of training over two years.

This surprisingly mature young woman has found a balance between sport, studies and personal life. She starts her days with physical training before heading to university. Then, after lessons and some review, she gets back into the ring every evening until 10 p.m. “Of course when I have a big sporting deadline, I have to devote myself more to training, and vice versa during the partials,” she adds. "The hardest part is finding the right dose to perform well in all areas and over time. Sport brings a certain rigor to my studies. And even though I may encounter difficulties, I tell myself that work and perseverance always pay off in the end.”

The next round

And when it comes to success, the young woman knows what she’s talking about! At only 18 years old, her track record already has all the greats. She is French Junior champion, bronze medalist at the European Championship and the 2022 Junior World Championship in her category. This young boxer has also won several international tournaments abroad with the French team.

Her next goal: the European Junior Championship in April 2023 at the end of which she will potentially be able to claim the Olympic qualifying tournament. “The 2024 Olympics remain a major objective, even if, due to my age, I should rather be part of the 2028 Olympics generation.” The semi-finals and finals of the Paris Games will take place on the courts of Roland Garros: a dream for this former tennis player who prepares for them day after day with determination.

Photographie © François Le Guen