ROBSTOWN, Texas — Great things are happening at the Gutierrez Boxing Academy in Robstown.
Jesslyn Garcia is the first female boxer from Robstown to qualify for the Silver Gloves National Tournament.
The 15-year-old, who also is a mamber of the Lady Cotton Pickers basketball team, has been boxing for only four months. Yet, she has already won her first four matches, and is now heading to Missouri for the national finals next month.
She is not afraid to mix it up in the ring.
"It does not bother me to get hurt," she said. "I know getting punched in the face is part of the sport, and I think other girls should get involved in the sport, too."
"Jesslyn is a tough one," said her coach Robert Vela. "She spars with all the boys. You don't find a lot of tough 95-pounders like her."
Adrian Amaya, a 15-year-old, and 9-year-old Tristan Flores will join Garcia at the national tournament. It's the first time in 20 years since the Gutierrez Boxing Academy has sent someone to the Silver Gloves finals.
"I like the sport a lot," Amaya said. "It's become a big part of my life."
The Gutierrez Boxing Academy has become a second home for a lot of the youth in Robstown.
"They took away the Boys & Girls Club, so we don't have a lot of stuff here for kids to do," said Vela. "When I decided to open up the gym, it was a place for them to call home, stay off the streets and come into a no-judgement zone. I get a lot of kids who are bullied so when they come here they are comfortable and able to be themselves. To have a place like this in our community is a true blessing."