Fighting for good has always been the mindset of John Paul Gonzales.
The boxing trainer has been around the sport for a while, working with his father in Beeville for the Blessed Hands Boxing club. Now, Gonzales has brought the club back under a new title, the Bee County Young Gunz, with his youth fighters putting on a show for a cause Sept. 25.
The late September Saturday boxing card at the Bee County Expo Center Pavilion, titled “Fighting for Knox,” saw 14 bouts between area fighters, including three Young Gunz. The card was a fundraiser for the family of Knox Longoria, a Corpus Christi 4-year-old who died in June.
“As a community, we care about Knox … that’s what (we’re here for),” Gonzales said of the card.
The card was the first of its kind in Beeville in several years, a chance for Gonzales’ troupe to make a major local impact.
“We’ve been doing this for three years now,” Gonzales said. “Beeville hasn’t had a show in years, so it was time to have one here.”
Since rebooting the Bee County boxing program, the Young Gunz have traveled across the state to compete in Laredo, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Houston, San Antonio, Robstown and Kingsville.
Three of Gonzales’ pupils took to the ring at Fighting for Knox. Senior male novice division competitor Jacob Maldonado took on Robert Garcia in a 201-plus pound three-round exhibition. Also competing in the three-round bouts were intermediate female novice division fighter Mariah Camacho and intermediate male novice division fighter Teddy Cain.
A raucous crowd of parents, club supporters and other locals came out to cheer on the fighters.
“People have been supportive big time, so now it’s time for them to take a seat and see the hard work they put in,” Gonzales said.
Sanctioned by USA Boxing and the South Texas Amateur Boxing Association (STABA), the event cost $15 to attend, with funds going toward the family of Longoria. Sponsors for the event included Beeville businesses Cutthroat Barbershop, The Nutrition Spot and Bee-Eco Blasting.
With three Young Gunz taking part in the card, Gonzales is hoping to expand his club’s roster for future Fighting for Knox installments.
“I expect it even bigger next year … this year, we had (14) bouts, next year we’ll have 25. I’m looking to get seven or eight of my guys (on the card).”