Fresno Boy Goes to Boxing National Championships

December 22, 2008 2:08:42 PM PST
A young Fresno boy is preparing for the fight of his life Wednesday night.He fought his way to the Boxing National Championships where Thursday, he'll represent the San Joaquin Valley in the National "Silver Gloves" Competition.

The 6th grader from Bullard talent project school defied the odds.

Despite his small stature and his first year competing in boxing he's proved that he can go the distance.

He's just 11... And he's got a killer right hook. Efren Lopez who goes by "Chico" is warming up for the biggest fight of his young life, the prestigious "National Silver Gloves Championship."

Efren "Chico" Lopez: "I'm proud because I've made it so far and this is my first year being in the Silver Gloves."

Getting to the nationals wasn't easy Chico had to win the Central and State Divisions and then the Western regional's twice.

Now he's heading to independence, Missouri where he'll fight the best of the best from around the country.

"At first I try to get how they fight and then in the second and third I get how they fight."

The 75 pound dynamo learned his fancy footwork when he joined Fresno's Police Activities League two years ago.

His strategy is... Not having a strategy.

"Nothing, I just have to win."

Coach Joey Hernandez calls him a natural.

Joey Hernandez: "He's learned faster than any kid I ever had. He's barely going on two years of training and for him to be at this level it's remarkable."

For kids 10 to 15 years old the Silver Gloves is the equivalent of the Golden Gloves where the nation's best amateur boxers compete in tournaments.

It's the first time a kid from Fresno's P.A.L has ever qualified.

Sgt. Brenda Trobaugh: "He's representing his family, himself, Fresno P.A.L., the City of Fresno, the state of California, he's got a lot of weight on his shoulders, and I'm just so proud and so excited."

Chico agreed to give us a sneak peek at one of the jabs his competitors can expect. He calls it the "Oaxaca Loop".

"Because my dad comes from Oaxaca."

Chico's first bout is Thursday if he wins he'll move on to Friday's tournament and he has to win Friday in order to move on to Saturday's final round.

We'll be rooting for him.


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