Photo courtesy of Jose Cruz Ramos
Dungeon Boxing Club Coach Jose Cruz Ramos says he likes to get the team together for trips away from the gym. Recently, the team went to the movies together to see “Southpaw,” a movie about boxing, naturally. Pictured are (L-R) Jessie Macias, Ramos, AJ Ramos, Rigo Valdez, Erik Ruiz, Guillermo Reyes, Elijah Reyes and Leonel Ramos.
As of Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Most evenings Sunnyside’s Jose Cruz Ramos can be found out in his Jackson Avenue garage teaching local youths the finer points of boxing.
The general manager at Sunnyside’s Fastenal Company, Ramos spends three nights a week in his garage where rubber mats cover the concrete floor, and speed bags, heavy punching bags and weights line the walls, leaving barely enough space for sparring.
For the past three years, Ramos has served as the coach of the Dungeon Boxing Club. He works with up to eight young boxers, ages 7 to 22, but he says the demand to train more boxers is growing.
“I need more room,” he says.
Not only does the boxing coach want to expand his club membership, he would also like to expand the types of mentoring he can offer local youth.
“I have a dream that one day our city will have a facility where our children can go after school and get tutoring, train in boxing and be able to attend other programs,” Ramos said.
This past week, he found himself talking to Sunnyside City Manager Don Day about the possibly of using the Sunnyside Community Center for Dungeon Boxing Club activities.
“I’m excited to see where those discussions will take me,” he said.
The young coach said through boxing he has been able to teach his athletes discipline and responsibility.
Ramos said he sees a huge lack of after-school programs available to the city’s youth.
“I envision a place where our children can go after school, get help with their homework, learn to box, learn to bake or learn to play the guitar,” Ramos said.
He said he already has volunteers who are committed to helping bring the vision to reality.
“I just want to create place where youth can be influenced to begin developing their natural talents,” Ramos said.
Ramos said as a boy growing up in Sunnyside, he learned to work hard from his father, but sometimes he did get into trouble.
“I want to help youth avoid trouble by giving them a place where they can learn to respect themselves and learn that other people care for them,” he said.
Ramos said his chose boxing as an avenue to work with youth simply because he’s a fan of the sport.
“I never played sports in school, but I have always been a big fan of boxing,” Ramos said.
So he began building his gym, thanks to donations from community members and members of his church. Ramos’ first students came to the makeshift gym having heard about the program by word of mouth.
“Now we get a lot of contacts via our Facebook page,” he added.
“We are generating a ton of interest,” he added.