I would like to share a story from the January 23rd Golden Gloves Quarter-Finals. A 6 year old little boy and his grandfather came to the event to enjoy the fights. After Francisco Vazquez of Cruz Boxing, Springfield, MA finished his fight scoring a victory advancing to the Semi-Finals, this 6 year old little boy came up to our photo booth and asked if we had any pictures of his favorite fighter who was, "the guy in the cammo that had just fought" (Francisco). At the time we did not have the pictures uploaded so it was suggested that the child and his grandfather be brought into the back room where he could meet his now favorite boxer. Francisco not only took the time to take multiple pictures with this child but also took the time to ask about the child and showed general interest. Francisco was able to present the boy with a signed boxing glove which made the kid's night, he was glowing with joy. The story does not end there. The following week, the boy and his grandfather attended the Semi-Finals to root for his now favorite boxer. The boy came with multiple signs showing his support for Francisco. Francisco was again victorious and would be returning the following week to compete in the Championship Finals. Francisco showed his gratitude to the boy by inviting him to his gym to witness a training session prior to the championship bout. The boy was presented with a team jacket and asked to lead Francisco into the ring for his championship bout. Unfortunately, Francisco fell short in the Championship bout, but the boy was able to enter the ring and present Francisco with his runner up Medallion. The boy is now taking Boxing Lessons and hopes to be like his favorite boxer, Francisco Vazquez.
The thoughtfulness and compassion of not only Francisco but the entire Cruz Boxing Team is a great reflection of the values boxing can help instill.
Josue Lopez: South Hadley, MA
Geremias Torres: Holyoke, MA
After losing his mother at age 8 and his father three years later, he was forced to live with his older sister in Reading, Pennsylvania. After 4 years, he was relocated to Holyoke, MA to live with his older brother. At age 14, his older brother brought him to the Holyoke Boys Club, where he, like so many other Holyoke youths, was introduced to Boxing. He began training and later competing in local venues with his dedicated coach, Hector Torres of Holyoke Boxing. In 2008, he entered the Western New England Golden Gloves winning and advancing to the New England Golden Gloves. After winning the New England Golden Gloves he advanced to the Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he lost the national title to a member of the Haitian Olympic Team, Azea Augustama, who represented Florida that year. Later on in 2008 he graduated from Dean Technical High School and decided to walk away from boxing to preach the word of God. Keeping his faith close by, in 2013 he returned to boxing entering the 2013 Western New England Golden Gloves winning and advancing to the New England Golden Gloves Championships in Lowell, MA. After winning in Lowell and being named the 2013, 178 lbs open division champion, he continued to Salt Lake City, UT where he competed in the Nationals. He was named runner-up at the National Golden Gloves Tournament. As if that wasn’t enough for him, he continued to train and later that year competed in the US Elite Men’s Championships winning the gold medal being ranked the number 1, light heavyweight boxer in the country. He was accepted to team USA where he continued to compete, winning the Cheo Aponte Cup bronze medal, the Olympic Cup silver medal and made his Elite Men’s World Championships debut in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October, 2013. Geremias continues his boxing training while preaching the word of God teaching upcoming youths the values needed to succeed not only in boxing but in life.
His family immigrated to the United States from Honduras. Moving to Western Massachusetts at age 10 he struggled to learn English eventually overcoming his struggles. He began boxing at Whitley’s Gym in Holyoke before meeting Coach Rocky Snow. Showing the discipline needed to succeed in life, he became the first in his family to graduate High School and received a full scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, double majoring in political science and legal studies. While a student at UMass, he and Coach Rocky Snow developed the UMass Boxing Team. He began to compete collegiately becoming a three time Eastern Regional Champion, two-time national champion and a three-time All-American. In 2013, he entered the Western New England Golden Gloves winning his way to the New England Golden Gloves Championships at 136 pound open. After winning in Lowell and being named the New England Golden Gloves Champion, he continued to Salt Lake City, UT where he competed in the National Golden Gloves. After a strong showing at the national level, he sustained an injury which ended his hopes for the national golden gloves title. But in true Holyoke fashion, he refused to quit. Along with his dedicated coach, Rocky Snow, he headed back into the gym. He continued to train and later on that year competed and won first place at the Eastern Regional Collegiate Boxing Tournament to earn a bid to the nationals. He topped off winning nationals by earning All-American status being named the 2013 National Collegiate Boxing Champion at 136 pounds. Later on that year, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with high honors from the University of Massachusetts with a 3.9 Grade Point Average. Now a Middle School teacher in Windham, CT, Josua Lopez, continued to train young boxers while teaching the values needed to succeed in life.