In the week leading up to April 6, things were a little tense in the Hayman Partners office in Curtin.
As she counted down the days to Saturday, our tiny and super organised receptionist Monique Suraci’s adrenaline started to rise. She was preparing for her first fight in six months – an exhibition fight against a fellow Canberra boxer.
While she stands at just 5’2” and weighs 51kg, Monique is a champion boxer, unbeaten in Australia for more than three years and known nationally as one of the fiercest female competitors in the ring.
“In the days before a fight I’m always anxious,” Monique admits.
“Part of my mental preparation involves labelling myself the underdog, so I’m always preparing to get hurt.’’
It turns out Monique had nothing to worry about. In her nine minute fight at the Erindale PCYC, Monique dominated her opponent: her speed, strength and signature left hook giving her the edge.
When she’s not in the Hayman Partners office, Monique’s training three hours every day – running each morning before work and training after work under the direction of two-time British kickboxing title holder Gary Hamilton at Stockade Training Centre in Fyshwick.
Monique started boxing at age six, encouraged by her dad Vince, a father of six daughters who wanted his girls to grow up able to defend and protect themselves.
By age 10, she was fighting girls up to two years years older than she was, and had caught the attention of elite level coaches.
Today, the born and bred Queanbeyan teen is the reigning Youth National Australia and Oceania Champion in the 50kg weight division. Monique competed in the world championships in Budapest last year and has her sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She attributes her strength to her dad, and her mental stamina to mum Rosa Sergi, who “always pushes me to be the best version of myself”.
“I was a pretty angry child,” Monique, 18, admits. “And boxing really helped me.
“It’s always been an outlet for me. It’s taught me discipline and focus and – most of all – self awareness.
“If I start getting too emotional, I’ll force myself to take a break and take some deep breaths.”
So do her superior boxing skills come in handy in at the Hayman Partners office?
“Not at all,” she laughs.
“But it’s the perfect place for me to work because everyone is so supportive.
“And Brett [Hayman] is a former Olympian too, he understands the rigorous training and the absolute determination it takes to be the best in the world.”
Monique’s next fight takes place in Melbourne this Sunday April 14 and she’ll spend the rest of 2019 training for Olympic trials.