DALLAS — There is no question that boxing is physical. Really physical.
However, 12-year-old Victor Ramirez will tell you the mental preparation is harder than the physical training.
"Everything is mental," Ramirez said. "You have to just space out from everyone and focus on your opponent and how you're going to fight."
It's one of the values Javier Armenta, the head coach, works to instill in his athletes at Los Gallos Boxing Club in Dallas.
Focus, along with discipline, self-defense and hope. Lots of hope.
"We don't strive to teach them to fight," Armenta said. "We want them to learn discipline. It's school first, then boxing."
Armenta believes in boxing's ability to teach those lessons because he's living proof that it worked. In 1982, a 15-year-old Armenta started boxing at a gym run by Leonel Vela. Five years ago, Armenta paid Vela a visit and learned he needed some help with his youth boxing program.
Now, they work side-by-side, teaching form, endurance and agility as well as mental toughness, strong character and a persistent refusal to give up.
“Oak Cliff. West Dallas. South Dallas," Armenta said. "Wherever they come from, we’ll take them in. As long as they’re out of the street and here learning something.”
This year, the gym had the most boxers its ever had qualify for the 2021 USA Boxing National Junior Olympics & Summer Boxing Festival.
Armento hopes all four can go, including Victor Ramirez and his two brothers. While the gym was able to take a boxer to the national competition in 2019, there have been times in past years where boxers had to miss nationals because of the cost of going to the 10-day competition.
The parents and staff will host an event next Saturday to raise the money they need to send all four boxers to the two-week competition.
The event will be at Garzas Barber Shop, 3114 Clymer Street, in Dallas. Supporters can purchase brisket plates from 11-2, and all proceeds will go to supporting the boxers. The team also set up this GoFundMe page.