FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Boxing can teach many life lessons and it's not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.
"Anybody can roll over and give up," Gilbert Ruiz with Heartbeat Boxing said. "I think with boxing you have to get up and strive to do better."
Ruiz knows what it means to fight. As a teen, Ruiz was often in trouble with the law, but boxing provided a way out. "My whole life was to follow a career of crime and be in trouble with the law," Ruiz said. "But boxing was able to get me away from that."
The gym, located in Downtown Fresno became his ultimate passion project. "It was also able to give me an excuse," he said. "Hey, I need to train for a tournament I'm going to. So, boxing was my saving grace."
"I tell people that if I had an open heart surgery they would see boxing gloves in there," Ruiz said. "If they smelled my blood, they would smell a gym."
"It's his passion, it's his heart," Ruiz's wife Lourdes said. "His heart is in boxing it really is. It's something he enjoys, something he enjoys so much doing.
Having this is his dream. I think the name, everything you see here, it was to put together with so much passion and love that he dedicated so many years to this."
Heartbeat is more than just boxing, including various fitness classes and custom food plans, but it's a weekly free women's self-defense class that at the core touches Ruiz's heart and honors his sister Ruby who was a victim of domestic violence "She wanted to join the Army," he explained. "She did, she joined the army. She married a guy that tried to abuse her and he killed her."
"When this really happened, it really hit him and he said 'you know, what I think I'm going in a different direction,'" Lourdes explained.
"I give it, in the memory of my sister, Ruiz said. "I want to empower women that they are empowered that they will never have to put up with something like that."
And so Ruiz continues to fight the good fight, thankful for every heartbeat. "I like the health part of it," Ruiz said. "I like feeling fit. I'm getting paid for something that I love to do and that's every man's dream."