Young Fighters of the Golden Gloves Family

Editor's Note:

Golden Gloves in San Jose has been a family centered gym for over 35 years. One focus of their gym is training youth. In this series introduction get a glimpse of the impact the gym is making & what the youth love about boxing and Golden Gloves.

Co-owner & Coach Rich with members of Golden Gloves youth boxing team. 

Co-Owner & Coach Cesar Perez.

Q&A With Coach Perez

Daniel Zapien: What led you to start this gym?

Cesar Perez: Being in the boxing industry for over 13 years now I really noticed that boxing in general has been fading out with the whole martial arts and UFC. Things have become a lot more commercialized where big gyms are popping up everywhere and the smaller gyms – the ones you can say that carry the heart and soul of boxing are fading out. So, I saw myself starting small with the help of the community and as well as my partner Coach Rich and lo and behold we started something small and now we’ve grown a little bit more but we have been reaching our goal of keeping a family atmosphere in the gym.

DZ: What's significant about being in this north side neighborhood?

CP: I say everything happens for a reason and scouting different locations, everything felt like the possible locations they looked and felt great but something was missing. When we actually found this place, the location was ideal. It was a neighborhood that you can tell was desperately looking for something positive to grow here. And not just that, we have a wonderful park across the street, we have great neighbors. To tell you the truth, its literally become home in just a matter of months.

So, northside has definitely welcomed us and we are very happy and humbled for that.  

DZ: Why the focus on the kids?

CP: Kids is one of my main focuses because I have dedicated my life to learning how to work with different age groups and different needs for the kids. I’ve worked with kids with special needs from autism down syndrome or even kids who’ve gotten close to being emotionally disturbed or at risk youth. I did that for 13 years so when I did this I really felt like I had a calling to work with the youngsters, especially with those who had a really hard time at school, that had too much energy and they were failing in class. Little by little I realized how much of a positive impact it was having on their life so it just drew me like a magnet. That’s why kids have great energy around me because they can sense almost like the uncle feeling or that one coach who just really cares for them.

DZ: What makes you proudest about running this gym?

In reality its giving people their sense of life and having them look forward to waking up the next day. Maybe they even go jog or join our 6am class or even go to work, do the best they can and then come on in even for our latest class and that makes me really, really proud to have.  

I come to the gym because I want to get better at boxing and I like being here,
it makes me feel at home.

What I like about the gym is that it’s welcoming and there are
good caring people here and it’s fun.

My favorite punch is the jab.

What motivates me in boxing are my friends and family.

–Emily Rodriguez, 15

I come to the gym because it makes me feel happy and I get to relieve my stress.

What I like about the gym is that I get to be myself and be around
people that like the same things as me.

My favorite punch is any punch, if it lands that’s all that matters.

What motivates me in boxing is that I want boxing to be in my future, and when I think about my future it makes me push myself. I also get motivated by my parents because they are the reason I do this, so that they have a better life later on.

-Itzel Prieto, 14

I come to the gym to stay out of trouble.

What I like about the gym is that everyone is supportive.

My favorite punch is the left hook.

What motivates me here in boxing is to get discipline.

-Sunny Soto, 13

I like coming to the gym because it is fun and cool to hangout with friends.What I like about the gym is that it is supportive.

My favorite punch is an uppercut.

My brother motivates me in boxing because I want to get better than him.

-Estevan Soto, 12

I come to the gym because they treat me like family here

What I like about the gym is that we get to advance our boxing skills.

I first came to the gym because the old gym I went to isn’t as good as this one.

My favorite punch is the left hook to the body.

My family and the people here, my coaches motivate me to do my best everyday and they motivate me to never give up and work for what I want.

-Jaime Romero, 15

I come to the gym to be in good shape and because I like doing sports.I like the people at the gym and I like their workout.

I came to the gym because my brother found out about it.

My favorite punch is the hook.

What motivates me in boxing are my coaches and in general I like boxing.

-Joselyn Romero, 13

                                                                             Video, Photos & Interviews by Daniel Zapien

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