It is often said that it’s about the journey and not the destination.
Boxing is an art form. It’s as mental as it is physical. It requires attention to detail, it requires patience, it requires discipline, and it requires a lot of dedication.
The Rays Kids boxing program at the West Athletic Center in Syracuse teaches this philosophy to young kids and trains them to become champions not only inside the ring but also in life.
Boxing legend Ray Rinaldi started the program almost 30 years ago and has since educated, trained, and helped thousands of youth in the Syracuse community. Fledgling boxers are instilled with a drive to thrive and the understanding that to do so, they must be dedicated to the sport.
Since he was 8, Raimier “Lungz” Walker has been going to the West Athletic Center to learn and practice boxing. Now 12, Lungz has risen to the top echelon of youth boxing and is currently ranked as the second best boxer in the country for his age in the 75-pound weight class.
He has a rigorous training schedule that has helped him reach the pinnacle of youth boxing as well as a support system in his gym and his family. Lungz trains at the gym for about two hours a day, six days a week, and continues with an extra two hours of training with his dad at home most days. This dedication has resulted in numerous local wins and a Junior Olympics title.
Every year USA Boxing hosts a 15-and-under boxing tournament dubbed Silver Gloves. There, the best boxers from eight different regions in the United States fight in single elimination bouts until a champion per age group and weight class is crowned. Last year in Independence, Mo., Lungz made it to the championship match but wasn’t able to bring the belt home.
This year, the return to Independence seemed as if things would be different.
After breezing through his first two fights, Lungz was set for a rematch in the championship bout against the young boxer who beat him last year.
It was the moment Lungz had been waiting for all year.
It was what he had trained for.
He knew it would be a tough fight.
And he wouldn’t want it any other way.