I’m not entirely sure where the boxing itch came from, all I remember is being intrigued by the sport at a very early age. We had this old vhs tape sitting around at home that my mother would use to record music videos from some of her favorite groupos and bandas, at the very end of this tape there was a boxing match that some one had recorded prior to us owning that tape. I don’t know who the two combatants were but I remember watching this fight every chance I got. There was something about two fighters stepping into the ring knowing that they were about to go to war and still having the courage to see it through that instantly captivated me. Maybe it was the circumstance or environment that I was being raised in that drew me into the sport. I grew up in a tough neighborhood known as “Southhill”, in the mid 90’s this was undeniably considered the “ghetto” part of Sunnyside, Wa. My father was an immigrant worker who came to the states at a very early age, I don’t know much about his early story as he has never shared much with us. I do know however that he wasn’t afraid of hard work as he was gone most of the time working to provide for our family of 6. My mother worked as well but she spent most of her time being angry with us, with her as well I don’t know much about her upbringing but I sense that it was very similar to my own.

These boxers that I repeatedly watched had a courage and heart that I yearned to obtain, being hit with vicious blow after blow but still having the strength to move forward in hopes of getting the victory. What would drive someone to do this? I remember asking myself. Why would anybody want to step into a ring knowing you were about to get punched in the face? Little did I know that this video was giving me an insight as to what the next 10-15 years of my life would look like. Blow after blow, hit after hit, but like these boxers that I watched I had a choice to make. Do I take the hits and continue moving forward? or do I simply lay down and call it quits when the going got tough?

Southhill was a breeding ground for gangs, domestic violence, drug use, robbery, theft, and any other mischief that goes along with that. I learned early on that you had to have thick skin if you intended to survive out there. Like the fighters that I watched my older brother had qualities that I wished I had, he may not know it but I credit him for the courage that I have to pursue the vision that God has placed on my heart. I remember he must have been 12 or 13 years old when I first saw him being hauled off to the juvenile detention center, I was much too young to understand what was going on but it wouldn’t be the last time I would see this happen. He was tough, fearless, and was never afraid to say what was on his mind. I remember getting into a fight with another kid from our neighborhood, a spat that lasted no more than maybe a minute. After we finished our squabble, this kid that I fought ran off to go get his older brothers, I didn’t care, I was unafraid because I knew that big bro was home. Sure enough not even 5 minutes later, this kid that I fought and his two older brothers came running over to our trailer. My big brother was in the back yard working on a lowrider bike he was attempting to build, all I did was go back there and stand by him acting as if I was interested in his bike. As soon as these other kids saw my brother they stopped dead in their tracks, said hi to my brother and walked away. I wanted that, I wanted people to fear me and I knew that boxing was going to be the only way for me to obtain that. However, I never did become that tough, rugged person that my brother was, God had other plans for me…


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