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Woman thrives in boxing ring and at law firm

AP MEMBER FEATURE EXCHANGE ADVANCE FOR FEB. 9-10 - In this Jan. 17, 2013 photo, Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes, right, spars with Aaron Ayou at the Pembroke, Mass., Police Boys Club. Lopes is an attorney at a firm in Brockton, Mass., and is the eighth-ranked female welterweight boxer in the world, according to the World Boxing Council.  (AP Photo/The Patriot Ledger, Amelia Kunhardt)  BOSTON HERALD OUT; BOSTON GLOBE OUT; QUINCY OUT

AP MEMBER FEATURE EXCHANGE ADVANCE FOR FEB. 9-10 - In this Jan. 17, 2013 photo, Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes, right, spars with Aaron Ayou at the Pembroke, Mass., Police Boys Club. Lopes is an attorney at a firm in Brockton, Mass., and is the eighth-ranked female welterweight boxer in the world, according to the World Boxing Council. (AP Photo/The Patriot Ledger, Amelia Kunhardt) BOSTON HERALD OUT; BOSTON GLOBE OUT; QUINCY OUT Purchase photo reprints »

The 32-year-old Marshfield woman is the eighth-ranked female welterweight boxer in the world, according to the World Boxing Council. She is set to go up against the seventh-ranked boxer Feb. 15 at the Mohegan Sun casino.

“It’s not easy. It boils down to discipline and time management,” Lopes said.

Lopes was raised in Poland, where she played tennis and volleyball as a child. She came to the U.S. at 16 and settled in Plymouth, where she was on the wrestling team at Plymouth South High School. That was her first experience in a contact sport, and she’s never stopped.

Lopes described herself as a “boxer puncher” who moves a lot in the ring.

She said her opponent in the Feb. 15 match is an aggressive fighter who’s shorter than she is. Stylistically, they are opposites, which should make for a great fight, Lopes said.

If Lopes wins the match, she will take the No. 7 welterweight spot.

Lopes said boxing is a solitary sport, but her trainer and husband, Wayne Lopes, keeps it fun.

It wasn’t the sport her parents would have chosen, but after her father saw some of her fights on video, he “recognized that (her) skill level and experience was very advanced,” and that she was not doing this on a whim, she said.

The turning point with her father, Tomasz Magdziak, came last May when he traveled from Poland to see his daughter graduate from New England Law School.

A boxing match that had been rescheduled coincided with her father’s visit. Lopes said she was hesitant to invite him, but her father was excited to go.

He nervously asked her questions in the backstage area before the fight until her entrance song, “I Want It All” by Queen, began to play. He got to sit in her corner with his son in-law and watch her win.

After that, Magdziak accepted his daughter’s decision to box. While her mother would still prefer that she not box, she respects her commitment and success, Lopes said.

Her parents encouraged her to pursue a career in business or law because she always excelled in school. Lopes credits her father with putting the idea of going to law school in her head.

“I always got good grades and really liked the academic environment,” she said.

Nick Babanikas, one of the partners at the law firm where Lopes works, said she brings to work the same vigor she has for boxing.

“She’s got the two separated. You could never tell she was doing both things with such zealousness and intensity,” he said.

Wayne Lopes said his wife is a successful fighter because she loves boxing. She enjoys running, jumping rope and all the tedious training that many boxers hate.

When he and his wife volunteer to teach boxing, “most of the guys have a hard time fighting her, until she hits them,” Wayne Lopes said.

He said he doesn’t bother trying to teach aspiring boxers how to jump rope. He just tells them to watch his wife.

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