Years of training have paid off

Off-Campus Athlete – Adrien Chavez Gomez, Boxer

A passion for the sport has led Adrien to success.

ID Photo

A passion for the sport has led Adrien to success.

“I grew up watching tons of boxing,” said Adrien Chavez Gomez who now represents the U.S in amateur boxing. “I could recall watching Oscar De La Hoya, obviously when he was older, but he was still winning and competing with the best. My father also taught me how to box and showed me many things.”

Like any great athlete, Chavez knows that it takes time and practice to develop his skill. “I train currently at home but I started off at J.L Tepito and many other gyms and trainers,” he said. “I’ve defeated many fighters, most of them I forget their names. I don’t keep notes of the names of my opponents. I don’t like to brag about myself but I can say that I have sparred and kept up with many experienced fighters who have lots of knockouts.” 

One time, when he was 14 years old and had been training for a while, he went to a professional boxing gym for the first time. That was when he felt that he was finally moving forward in his boxing journey. “The second I walked through the doors of the gym, I could feel the hateful and prideful stare of everyone. I didn’t care, I wasn’t here to make friends, I was here to fight and prove my worth,” he said. “I warmed up for a little while and another kid my age came up to me and asked me if I wanted to spar with him. ‘Finally an opportunity to prove myself!’ 

“I said yes before he could even finish the question. He looked surprised to see me so eager to jump in the ring with him, I put on my gear and looked at myself in the mirror ‘This is it,’ I said to myself. I jumped in the ring but with a calm and poker face I didn’t want to show too much of what I was feeling to my opponent. I stared him down as I walked to the ring, The bell rang and rushed to the center of the ring and waited to see if he wanted to touch gloves, he didn’t show any interest. We were moving around for a little while, I could notice the huge crowd of people out of my peripheral vision but my focus was on my opponent and to beat him. 

“I hit him with three jabs and stunned him, but I didn’t move out of the way in time because in a flash I was hit with two jabs and a good right hand. I could hear the gasp and shocks from the crowd, that wasn’t the first thing I noticed, I felt a warm liquid pouring out from my nose. It was blood I could taste it as it poured to my lips, at that very moment something activated in me I can’t describe the feeling I wasn’t scared or mad I wasn’t thinking at all it was like a sudden rush of adrenaline was coursing through my veins, almost like a drug that has no cure. I started to throw the fastest combinations at my opponent. 

“He hit back but I couldn’t feel it. All I could feel was the excitement, the rush, the adrenaline that is boxing. I kept hitting him until his friend stepped in the ring and stopped the fight from continuing and, as fast as the feeling came, it stopped and I was back to normal. 

“I hugged my opponent right after and apologized and stepped out the ring, proud of myself. Everyone in the gym shook my hand and complimented me on my style. I finally got the respect, from that moment I knew I loved this sport we call boxing.”

While he can box in professional and practice gyms, Armijo does not offer a boxing team, so Chavez uses his position on the varsity baseball team to support his training and his school. He would like to join UTI and go professional in his boxing career.

“Like a wise old man told me, ‘you don’t play boxing,’ he said. “Those words stuck with me to this day; this is not a sport. This is fighting. I think many people forget about that. The sport is very brutal and lonely and not many can handle the pressures and pains of boxing. Only a few can keep up; it’s the sweet science that many love about boxing, the beautiful violence as they call it. Honestly, if I could give anyone advice, don’t do boxing. It’s painful and you need discipline. This isn’t soccer or football where you have a team with you; it’s you and your opponent and you never know if you’ll have come out of that ring alive.

His brother Angel goes to Armijo, too, and he is Chavez’s motivation to keep on fighting every day. He also had three cousins who attended the school: Dezerey, Atiana and Anthony. 

While these people are important to him, Chavez has seen some faults with the student body in general. “Honestly I think the school lacks desire,” he said. “What I mean by that is many people always follow and never lead, people are always trying to fit in and trying to be accepted and not accepting themselves and trying to do something positive with their life.” 

Chavez himself has found his father and grandparents to be his role models, those who have inspired him to do something positive with his own life. “If it wasn’t for my grandparents moving to this beautiful country, I would not be able to enjoy the privileges I have today,” he said. “My grandmother, 66, and my Grandfather, 72, still work to this day, My father, who is now 41, still works as well. They showed me that, if you want things in life and if you want to be successful, you must stay disciplined and work hard and never give up.” Chavez has been raised hearing “nunca se raja” (never give up) and “hechale ganas joven” (put in desire and work hard). These “are the two sayings that stick with me my grandparents told me,” he said. “I will be forever grateful with them.”

When he is not boxing, or training for boxing, Chavez likes to go fishing in his free time, and he watches movies whenever he can.