Some of Arizona’s best amateur boxing talent competed yesterday at the Salvation Army Smoker Boxing Tournament at the Kroc Community Center in Phoenix.
The event featured both boys and girls in all weight classes. Tournaments like this give the young boxers a chance to showcase the hard work they have trained so hard for, it is often unseen on a daily basis in gyms across the Valley and state. Sanctioned by USA Boxing, the minimal staff works pure magic with limited resources to govern these Olympic style boxing.
Some of these boxers will go on to compete in the Olympics, perhaps pursue a career as a professional boxer, or maybe both. Anything is possible for any of these young hearts. Former Arizona Governor Raul Castro is proof of this, living in extreme poverty he boxed professionally to earn money in his early days. Castro found a way to attend college and go on to do great things. Any of these kids can do the same, amateur boxing gives them the chance to succeed.
The competitors who attend theses events come from a wide background, many with limited, or no funds at all to pursue their dream. But this is where the magic begins, one can walk into any gym and probably receive training at a reduced rate, often no charge at all in some cases. Often, many of these kids pass on attending a tournament due to funding issues. The will and determination of many of them will require that they become creative, having fund raising events to produce the funds needed to attend tournaments. It is just a way of life if they wish to compete and attend.
It is these traits that are taught by the coaches, parents and gyms that set a base for the young fighters. You see, not only boxing skills are taught, but life skills that will carry them in life and outside the ring.
Any coach or gym owner will tell you, they don’t plan on becoming rich by owning a gym. It is a passion, a passion that requires their own funding and countless hours of unpaid time and dedication.
Arizona is a breeding ground for boxing talent, it is a proven fact that a number of champions have been born at some of these gyms, many have moved on to a successful pro career.
Boxing is alive and well in Arizona. Often, the participants and gyms go unnoticed because they are never written about, but the fact is at some point a champion will be born at one of these gyms. In yesterday’s event alone, the boxing clubs that competed included the Knockout Boxing Club, Fuentes Boxing, Neutral Corner, TAZ, Keith Boxing, Hardknocks, Madison Boxing, Hook City Boxing, Sonny’s Boxing, Tucson Southwest Boxing, Old School Boxing, Amenzone Fitness, New World Boxing, Broadway Boxing, Cross Driven Boxing, Maricopa County Sheriff Boxing, Phoenix Boy’s Center, J & C Boxing, Gene Lewis Boxing, Boxing Inc., South Mountain Boxing, T & A Boxing, Central Boxing, J-C Gym, Nevada Boxing and Salvation Army Boxing.
There are so many boxing gyms in Arizona, they range from from free standing buildings, to maybe a backyard gym, they all produce the same results. Facilities like the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center, the host for yesterday’s event is by far a stellar venue, but it is the heart of the boxers, coaches, clubs and parents that make them all equal.