One Lubbock High School student is perfecting her jabs and punches in the hopes of another title. NewsChannel 11's Julia Bruck takes us inside the ring as she prepares for the Junior Olympics.
Her arms are fierce, while her feet move like a dancer. It's part passion, part talent and Holly Torres is only 14-years old.
"This belt is from the world tournament that I won in Kansans City, Missouri this past year," Torres said. "This is the belt I won in New Mexico. I was the main event," she added.
Torres says she started boxing after her uncle took her to a fight at just 9-years-old. But it would be two years before Torres ever put on gloves.
"I asked my mom for about two years about it and she finally decided to let me box," Torres said.
Torres was 11-years old when she joined Crossroads Youth Boxing and Mentoring Program. Based in a place where lessons were once taught on chalkboards, Torres says she now spends three hours a day training there. "I think the more ghetto the gym, the better work you get," Torres said.
"When she comes in she does five rounds of jump ropes, then she'll shadow box then she'll hit the bags and then we'll hit the mitts or sparing," Coach Johnny Melendrez said.
Melendrez opened the boxing club more than five years ago. He says this is more than just a place to punch. Instead, it is an alternative for some 20 kids and teens to a possible life on the wrong side of the law.
"Get kids off the street and keep them off drugs and just working with them," Melendrez said.
After watching Torres outside the ring, NewsChannel 11's Julia Bruck put on pink gloves and climbed inside to join Torres in the ring.
"What are we going to learn here today?" Bruck asked.
"We're going to learn the basics," Melendrez said.
Torres went first.
"You punch faster than I do," Bruck said.
Melendrez then upped the ante and the punch combination got a more difficult. By the end, Bruck said she was a little out of breath. However, she had earned a nod of approval from both Melendrez and Torres.
"So you think I could do this?" Bruck asked. "Oh yeah, you're doing good," Melendrez said.
Torres will turn 15 this year and hopes to earn a national rank. She plans to compete in the Regional Junior Olympics this April. If Torres wins, she moves on to the state level. Meanwhile, Torres also plays on the Lubbock High School Softball team.
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