Three boxers at the Reno County Boxing Academy were included in the USA Boxing Elite rankings.
Three people who are under 25 years old all chose to attend the academy. And though a young man might not have been alive if he had not attended, the academy saved his life.
Jacob Cox, 24, ranked as ninth in the 86-kilogram men’s division. Genny Zuniga, 12, ranked as the eighth-best tenth grader in her weight category, and Johnny Lopez , 16, showed a tie for ninth in the 176+ pounds group.
Cox finished third in the Golden Gloves of America National Tournament of Champions in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Aug. 15th this week.
Cox loves the ring and fell in love with it when he first got in.
“Boxing (is) always year-round,” he said. “Once I got into it, I was on the go with it since I started.”
After 188 pounds, Leon is an amateur fighter still aiming for the top. Leon took first place at the Golden Gloves tournament for Hutchinson. Leon said that he still wants to learn and get better in time.
“I’m only a little bit into two years of fighting,” Cox said. “So, a lot of stuff to learn but I know I have the basics down. My conditioning is always improving.”
Lopez found boxing academy at a time when he was struggling to survive.
In what will be his second year boxing this coming October, he said he is very lucky to have found the sport because it saved him.
“Before I was boxing, I was really overweight,” Lopez said. “I’m honestly still a big guy, but I was a lot bigger before I joined. I was going through a break-up at the time. I was pretty suicidal at the time, and boxing, it gave me a purpose. It saved my life. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Best choice I’ve ever made.
“It saved my life, to be honest. I wouldn’t be nowhere, probably would be doing not good things if I wasn’t boxing. I was going through some dark times when I joined.”
Lopez is so glad that he discovered the potential to be a promising athlete. He never knew what was important or who was around before he turned it into practice.
“You don’t really believe you’ll amount to much,” Lopez said, “but then you come to one of the best in the country and it’s pretty surreal. Sometimes you don’t really believe it.”
For Lopez, the academy is his community.
“It’s a family,” he said. “It really saved my life.”
At the X academy for Special Operations, there are many people training in the 100 and 101 divisions.
For a year, Zuniga has boxed. She says that all the work she did paid off in the end.
“Well, I’m very proud of myself because I’ve worked very hard,” Zuniga said. “Just very proud of myself.”
The rankings show that Zuniga is ranked eighth in her division. She plans to maintain the ranking and fight for a better future step-by-step.
she said. “To keep working hard every day and to come to practice positive and ready to work,”
The Reno County Boxing Academy is currently raising funds to send 13 boxers to the 2022 USA Boxing National Championships in Lubbock, Texas in December. Donations for this event can be made through GoFundMe, and can be found on their Facebook page.