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Their Year That Was

For a moment, the Bubbleman, a female boxer, a recovering alcoholic and others shone in our pages. Here are updates on their remarkable lives.

January 01, 2001|REED JOHNSON

Whether you thought of it as the first year of the third millennium or the last year of the second millennium, 2000 was a rich time for purveyors of feature stories. Today, Southern California Living publishes postscripts to the tales of some we've profiled in the previous 12 months. Together, the stories give a glimpse of the startling range of life that has been chronicled in these pages.

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Three months ago, local boxing fans knew her as Disaster Diva ("Body and Soul," Oct. 15). But today, Alicia Doyle says she's content simply being herself--after recently quitting the sport and letting go of the punishing alter ego it inspired.

Earlier this year, the 30-year-old Sherman Oaks resident gave up her job as a Ventura County Star reporter to pursue her dream of becoming a professional boxer. Her pro debut, a bruising and bloodied four-round affair in September, was deemed by aficionados to have been one of the year's best women's bouts.

Doyle's adrenaline high was still going strong when The Times profiled her. But shortly after, she realized "my heart wasn't there anymore." Although boxing allowed her to test her inner and outer toughness--to prove a woman could take discipline and pain as well as any man--the cost was too high. "I didn't realize how much [boxing] was a center in my life. I needed to become centered without boxing, to have my strength without the gym."

Doyle is now preparing to write an inspirational book, including an account of how boxing helped her overcome her parents' separation and her own emotionally traumatic youth. She also is in negotiations with a Hollywood production company that wants to make a feature-length picture based on her life story.

Though she occasionally misses boxing, and contact with her coaches at Kid Gloves gym in Simi Valley, she says that she has found tranquillity and pleasure in simple things. On Thanksgiving Day, she and her mother, who is studying to be a minister, helped serve dinner to the homeless. Last week, they were out ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Topanga Plaza mall. Instead of hitting the heavy bag, Doyle now takes three-hour walks at the Hollywood Reservoir.

"I've lived a huge part of my life angry and resentful and unforgiving, and the sport relieves a lot of that," she says. "Right now I can't imagine getting in the ring and hurting another person anymore. And it's a very peaceful feeling."

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