Garcia looks to be in Ohio for four days, meaning he has reached the finals of his 141-pound weight class. It is a one and done tournament if you lose, you are eliminated. A fighter must win each of his bouts to advance to the next plateau. If Rg wins in Ohio, he will have earned a trip to the Olympic training grounds in Colorado Springs later this year.
Garcia began boxing almost right from the crib.
“It is a family thing. My grandfather and my father were both involved in the sport and I picked it up right away,” Garcia said.
Going to a local gym did not start until he was nine, but he had already put in a lot of hours at his backyard ring from the time he was seven.
“Boxing is a lot of fun. It’s a lot more than just getting in the ring and slugging,” Garcia said. “I love it. It gives me confidence in myself and has taught me about discipline.”
His local coach, Lalo Valdez, also insists on good grades and deportment from his stable of young boxers. Report cards must show a passing grade in every subject before a young boxer gets to train with Valdez.
Garcia will be a senior at A.C. Jones High School next year and he divides his time between school and boxing.
“I don’t have time for anything else,” Garcia said. “They both keep me pretty busy.”
Garcia has the full support of his family, even though his mother, Priscilla Camareno, was a little hesitant at first.
“I didn’t really want to let him go (to the gym),” Camareno said. “But his coach is great with the kids.”
“The homework and good grades along with the discipline that boxing gives me also helps me be a role model for my brothers and sister,” Garcia said.
Garcia currently holds a National Brown belt title along with a regional Junior Olympic crown and a Golden Gloves regional title. He sports a 36-19 record with several of the losses coming at an early age when he was going up against older, more experienced fighters and at tournaments where he was the outsider. The hometown boxer in amateur events sometimes has an added advantage with the judges and may possibly account for a few of the numbers in the loss column for Garcia.
As far as his style of boxing, Garcia feels he can slug it out and also box with the best of them.
“I have very quick hands and can box or go inside as coach Lalo has taught me. That was his style back in the day,” Garcia said.
His coach and trainer has confidence in Garcia accomplishing his goals.
“I love this boy like he was my own. His courage and dedication makes me proud to be his coach,” Valdez said.
Garcia’s big dream includes a trip to London to fight/box for the USA and then to turn pro.
“It’s always been a real big goal of mine. My coaches and I have talked about turning pro. It will provide me a road to something better,” Garcia said.
The road begins with a trip to Ohio, then to Colorado Springs and then hopefully to London.
If any reader would like to help defray some of the expenses involved in getting Garcia on his way, please contact Lalo Valdez at 358-8349 and leave a message. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated.