Local gym trains silver and gold medal boxers
By Alonzo Garza
Four local boxers medaled in the Games of Texas tournament in Georgetown on Thursday, July 26. Teams from all over Texas fought for four long days and Lockhart’s boxing team fared well for being the youngest team at the tournament.
Representing Lockhart at the finals were Cody Keller, Danny Ybarra, Roy Garcia Jr. and Ivan R
odriguez. The young team showed tremendous courage and skill until the very end of each round. They took the fight to their opponent and never backed down.
Fighting in the 110-pound category was Cody Keller who, according to Head Boxing Coach and trainer Pete Arciniega, “fought a very experienced fighter and put on a good fight.”
Arciniega was impressed with Keller’s performance and had great expectations for his progress in the sport.
“Cody has been in the gym seven months and has a great future in boxing” Arciniega said. Keller earned a Silver medal.
Danny Ybarra competed in the 114-pound contests and fought two trying matches against formidable fighters.
“Danny’s final match could have gone either way” said Arciniega. “Both boxers wanted it.”
In the end the win went to the opponent and Ybarra brought home a well-earned Silver medal as well.
Roy Garcia Jr. went into the ring with three fights under his belt in the 145 pounds match against a strong and tough fighter with 65 fights under his belt. Garcia represented Lockhart well, holding his own against a seasoned fighter. In the end it was experience that made a big difference in the outcome of the fight. Garcia punched his way to a well-earned medal. He also brought a Silver medal back to Lockhart.
Last, but certainly not least, Ivan Rodriguez of Luling fought in three outstanding fights in the 165-pound category. He gave each fight his all and prevailed in every one. He punched on through each fight and earned the right to wear a Gold medal around his neck.
“Ivan grew in every fight,” said Arciniega. “He displayed very good skills. In the final fight, Ivan had his opponent hurt several times, but they both wanted the victory and fought like it. It was bloody and action-packed and Ivan was declared the champ.”
The pride in his pupils was evident as Arciniega described each fighter’s fights, but no fighter got him as excited as Rodriguez, who not only won each fight, he literally got progressively better along the way. Rodriguez was on fire at the tournament and he showed the others in the team where they needed to be to reach the gold. Rodriguez served as an inspiration to what can be achieved if the work is put into it.
“In his second fight, Ivan won by a TKO,”Arciniega said. “Ivan has now won his second major tournament this year. Earlier this year he was also a Golden Glove Champ.”
That is pretty impressive, considering the limited space the boys currently practice in. The boxing team meets weekly in a makeshift gym under a local building on the square and every week they make the best out of their resources.
On Tuesday, July 31 the gym’s coach and trainer, Arciniega talked about his goals and expectations for his team. He also talked about his gym.
“This gym is committed to discipline,” he said.
“If you listen to the music…” he said, pointing to the boom box on the matted floor, “it’s all Christian music. It’s God first. We start every session with prayer…then it’s showtime. It’s hard work. It’s a rigorous regiment.”
At the gym on Tuesday were a total of seven boxers, all with different levels of skill and ability, but one thing was clearly apparent. They all had the same drive and determination to be their best in their chosen sport. Each boxer possessed or wanted to possess a higher standard for their work.
“Each boxer has to reach for a high standard,” insisted Arciniega as he walked over to a bulletin board with the boxers’ report cards pinned to it. “It’s all about staying in school and getting all A’s and B’s. If they’re doing bad in school, they can’t come to practice. They got to stay home and hit the books.”
In closing, Arciniega quoted from the Bible.
“We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13,” he said.
Sounding more and more like a preacher than a boxing coach and trainer, Arciniega, along with his strength trainer, Roy Garcia, Sr. gathered his boxers and started getting ready to go to City Park to run and work on conditioning their bodies for future fights.
One thing was certain, the young men wanted to be there. It is difficult to understand how anyone would want to get hit about the head and face, but… to each his own.
Thanks to Arciniega for the call and invitation to his gym. We wish continued success to all the boxers and the gym.
See you in the ring. Or not.