CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Tucked away on 5th street in Kingsville is the Kingsville Boxing Club. From the outside, it does not look like much. But on the inside, it is one of the nicest gyms that South Texas has to offer.
"It's a diamond in the rough," local pro boxer Oscar Cantu said. "You look on the outside and it doesn't look to fancy but once you walk inside you know it's the gym."
The club was founded by army veteran Jaime Cantu in the 1997. The original idea was not to breed the champions that it does now, but rather to benefit the community.
"We were starting here to get kids off the streets," Jaime Cantu said.
23 years later the club has transformed and has put itself on the map as one of the best boxing clubs in the state and it is attracting boxers from all over to come and join. The bags, rings and other equipment are all top notch but the one factor that is putting the club over the top is Jamie Cantu; a man who lives and breathes boxing.
"It gets me fired up," he said. "I wake up everyday excited."
Cantu is the coach in charge hoping to take his boxers to the top. He coaches with a strong sense of tough love but for some of these fighters his presence in their lives has created a strong sense of family.
"He is honestly like a second father to me," amateur boxer Elieazar Mendietta said. "I lost my dad when I was 15 and he basically came in and replaced him."
Cantu does not stand outside the ring demanding hard work from his boxers. He is right there with the action, inside the ring sparring with his young, fierce athletes making sure they are getting better by his hand. He makes sure that when the day of the big fight comes, his fighters are prepared to win.
"Once you walk out these doors and go into your fight, you know you are prepared," Oscar Cantu said.
There is no lack of preparation from the Kingsville Boxing Club.
"We come in shape. we come prepared and we are ready."