Home Sports Local Sports Bully Boxing: A passion to reach kids

Bully Boxing: A passion to reach kids

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Bully Boxing fighters. Back row, from left, is Adan Esparza, Macario Esparza, Eddy DeSantiago and Oscar Hernandez. Front row, from left, is Noel Hernandez, Joel Chavez and Zacarias Esparza. (Submitted Photo)

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Pascual and Tasha Esparza started Bully Boxing three years ago. They saw their son, Mac Esparza, 14, loved boxing and has been at it since he was 6 years old. Mac Esparza would listen to his dad and grandfather, Pascual Sr., talk about boxing with him and show him how to box, and young Mac Esparza’s love for the sport began to grow.

From left: Adam Garcia, trainer; Mac Esparza, fighter; Andrew Valadez; and Pascual Esparza, dad. (Submitted Photo)

The Esparzas put together a travel team with Mac Esparza, Daniel Mendez and Alyza Mendez, and Michael Hernandez and Zac Esparza to compete against other boxing teams. They have traveled to Clovis, Albuquerque, Portales and Alpine, Texas.

The team started training at Elite Fitness, before moving to a building on McGaffey St. two years ago. The team held a boxing event in 2018 called Bullies against Bullying at Third Street Station, with 32 fights on the card that night. That night was a success which led to the team having another card in 2019.

Their second time they held a card was on Sept. 19, 2019, at the convention center. Bully’s against Bullying was another success. Instead of one night it was a two-day event, held on Saturday and Sunday. The guest speaker that night was Anna Licia, a female boxer from Ft. Worth, Texas, on the card.

Licia, who was bullied it high school, followed her father’s advice and learned to defend herself, as he is a boxing coach. She took up the sport and was good enough to make the Olympic trails in 2020, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Licia spoke abut boxing giving her an outlet for her emotions and energy, and how she was able to overcome fear of being bullied.

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On that Saturday night there were 35 fights on the card and 14 fights on Sunday. Bully Boxing was going to do the event again on Labor Day weekend 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all plans. Once they are able to host events, Bully Boxing plans to host it again. The two-year event brought boxing teams from all around the nation to Roswell.

“That event brought awareness about bullying in Roswell,” Tasha Esparza said. “The city manager of Roswell spoke at the event. All the fighters from our team received confidence from that event. It also gave our coaches confidence to coach our kids right. It was a big lift in the arm for Roswell to host an event and make it successful.”

Adam Garcia is the head trainer at Bully Boxing and he’s from Roswell. Garcia fought at 154 pounds and won the Golden Gloves championship in 1987. Garcia was coached by the late great Willie Hall. The Esparzas and Garcia met at a fundraiser three years ago and he started coming to the gym to help fighters.

Bully Boxing has eight fighters on its competition team, There were four of the fighters that won Golden Gloves championships in March 2020, at Albuquerque. Bully Boxing had four Golden Gloves champions: Noel Hernandez and Zac Esparza, 10-year-olds were automatic winners in the 65-pound weight class.

Adan Esparza, 16 years old at 165 pounds; Anthony Sanchez, 11 years old, won at 80 pounds. Anthony Leyva, 11 years old, won the  85-pound division. Mac Esparza is an open-class fighter and beat a No. 6 ranked fighter in Junior Olympics’ 108-pound division in 2019, in Las Cruces. He is also a Golden Gloves champion at 110 pounds. He fought in Utah in May and won the New Mexico state championship at 108 pounds.

Bully Boxing welcomes all fighters in heart and spirit from ages 8 years old and up, and all talent levels. Also competing in the Golden Gloves tournament were Oscar Hernandez, 11 years old at 120 pounds.

The team has been hampered by COVID-19 and hasn’t been able to fight since February.

With the name Bully Boxing, one might think that Tasha Esparza came by the name because of someone being bullied. It’s not that, Tasha owns the American Bully dog breed, and named her boxing team after it. In 2021, the Esparzas would like to bring Golden Gloves back to Roswell. They noted that boxing used to be big in this town.

The gym is complying with Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s orders and the 25% occupancy. Bully Boxing welcomes people wanting to learn how to box and defend themselves.

“Roswell did host Golden Gloves boxing at one time,” Tasha Esparza said. “It has been years since they have held a boxing event in Roswell. We are aiming to bring the sport of boxing back to Roswell. They used to have champions come out of Roswell. We’re trying to get the kids off the streets.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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