Club brings boxing to children

By Khai Le

By Khai Le

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" <param name="menu" <param <embed src="http://www.khai-le.com/viewpoints/boxingclub/soundslider.swf?size=1&format=xml " quality="high" bgcolor="#353c41" width="620" height="533" Ask someone why they might want to pick up boxing and you might hear reasons such as getting fit, self-defense or just the enjoyment of it.

Ask 17-year-old Justin Stone, though, and he will tell you boxing allows him to “fight and not get in trouble for it.”

Stone and about 120 other children are enrolled in the Jurupa Valley Boxing Club, though not necessarily for the same reasons.

The club, started last July and located in Rubidoux, gives local residents a chance to try out boxing first hand.

Board of directors president Armando Muniz runs the non-profit club.

Muniz, a Spanish teacher at Rubidoux High School and former professional boxer for 10 years, says that club offers many opportunities to the youth.

“We give them a place to stay out of trouble and a place to call home,” he said.

“Everybody relates to fighting,” Muniz said. “A kid that can box will have self-assurance. If they have the confidence to box, they have the confidence to do anything else.”

Most children in the club are between the ages of 11-14. The club is open to both boys and girls. Muniz said of the girls attending steadily, “I feel sorry for the husband when marriage comes around.”

Once enrolled, a member will start to develop a routine with a coach. Members will start to work on stance and form, moving to punching bags and eventually sparring with others.

The club holds tournament matches and participates in regional, state and national tournaments.

Yoni Castro, 17, a member of the club, also lends a hand in the training of children.

“You learn everything you learn in other sports,” he said. “It teaches them confidence and discipline.”

Muniz said that Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione came to a local high school boxing match and offered to purchase a boxing ring to start the club. When Muniz said he had no place to put a ring, Tavaglione worked to secure a location.

The boxing club truly is a blessing for mothers such as Aracely Arriaga.

For the past seven years, Arriaga has made it a high priority for her two sons, twelve year old Justin and ten year old Jason, to not only receive a proper education, but keep them involved with sports and physical activities.

In the past when Arriaga’s sons were involved with baseball, she would take her two sons on the bus everyday for their practices and games.

She would take her children to their destination as early as eight in the morning, and arrive home as late as ten in the evening. However, in 1996, Arriaga was faced with the fact that she needed two operations to better her health.

As her health was improving, she enlisted her sons in karate, but over time came to the realization that it was too expensive, and simply, too far.

Everything changed for the family though when the Jurupa Valley Boxing Club opened in July of 2007 in their neighborhood.

Arriaga walks her boys to the club every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; to pay her son’s dues, she sweeps and cleans the boxing equipment.

On weekends, her husband drives her to work in Chino, where she also sweeps and cleans a warehouse.

“I am heartbroken that I cannot be with my children on the weekends,” Arriaga said. “But I know it’s something that I have to face.”

Her oldest son, Justin, is one of the many young athletes in the club with aspirations of becoming a professional boxer.

Currently attending Mission Middle School, the young athletic student makes sure to do well in school because after each school semester, if he or others in the club do not have a “C” or better in their academics, they will be lectured by coaches, or even kicked out of the club.

However, Arriaga is not worried about this matter. Coaches from the club have told her that her son has the “heart” of a boxer, and will not risk his grades to be excluded from the club.

Currently, the boxing club operates out of a building constructed as part of the renovation of Rubidoux Boulevard project. The club pays $1 a year for the lease on the building.

The club holds signups once a month for youths aged 8-18. Adults 19 and older can sign up anytime. Dues are $25 a month for youths and $50 a month for adults.