Julia Sosniecki | Staff Writer

Image courtesy of inserbia.info
Image courtesy of inserbia.info

Athens, Beijing, London, and coming in 2016: Rio. The Olympic Games bring our country together in support for our most dedicated and skilled athletes. The process is selective, and while the chance an athlete will get to represent our nation is slim, it is possible. Local boxer Flavio Becerra, a freshman at Century College, has a plan to try and fight his way to the top.

DSCF4226At age 14, Becerra (now 18) began to take an interest in boxing. This interest was for no reason other than “it sounded kind of cool,” so he started going to the White Bear Lake Boxing Club and has been training there since.

Over the summer Becerra had the opportunity to compete in the 2013 Ringside World Championship, which took place in Missouri. Any boxer from throughout the world may attend.  “I really like that tournament a lot because you know you get to see people from different places of the world and see how they fight.” The diverse competition fought hard, but in the end Becerra became the champion of his age bracket.

DSCF4310This win was a great success and helped get major recognition, but if Becerra wants the chance to prove himself at the Olympic tryouts he will have to win another national tournament once he is nineteen. This would mean winning the Ringside tournament again, the National Police Athletic League Boxing Championship, the USA Boxing Tournament, or the Golden Gloves. This is because Olympic boxing consists of 19-40 year olds.

Once having obtained a national title, there are eight people total at the tryouts who fight to represent the United States. This will take place in 2015, the year prior to the games. They will take the competitors who finish in first and second place to work out for that year before the Games. The person who finishes second place is taken just in case the other gets hurt and is unable to compete.

Close up of Flavio and his father Jose Becerra
Close up of Flavio and his father Jose Becerra

The White Bear Lake High School graduate understands the reality of the competitiveness of making it to the Olympics, and the fact that after age 35, one is probably not going to be a good fighter. This is why he is also attending Century College. His major is undeclared as of now, but he may find a major in Electrical Engineering. “I think I’m doing school more like as a backup ‘cause obviously there’s only one champion… If that ain’t me, then at least I have school and education to make something out of my life.”

When it comes to the hectic life of a serious boxer, the schedule is packed with working out. Becerra is training at the club every day from 5-7pm and then goes running, does pushups, sit-ups, etc. “So I get done around like nineish, and then do homework, go to sleep, do it over again.”

Like any sport, the commitment to training also includes a risk of injury. When asked how dangerous boxing is Becerra responded, “Actually it’s not that dangerous. Like, you’d probably get hurt more playing football… I mean sure, you might get a little black eye, or here and there a little cut.”

DSCF4260To anyone looking at getting involved with boxing, just find a local boxing gym and they will help guide and teach you the skills you need to know. To the children and young adults looking at getting into boxing seriously like Becerra, his advice is, “Stay focused. I think that’s the main thing…you kind of got to be consistent and go every day and try to work out every day and just get better. Don’t smoke or drink because that will bring you down.”

Working hard is essential to achieve great dreams and goals. Becerra has certainly exhibited this determined state of mind. He will continue on the drive he has to hopefully fight his way to the top. Century College will certainly be keeping an eye on his success to come.