Photo by Manny Dimas
Dungeon Boxing members include, left to right, Carlos Medina, coach Ralph Navarro, Rigo Valdez, Erick Ruiz, Alan Ochoa, Victor Ochoa and coach Cruz Ramos.
As of Wednesday, June 1, 2016
SUNNYSIDE Practicing out of a two-car garage, a group of young men put in hours of blood, sweat and tears to do what they enjoy most — boxing.
They are part of Dungeon Boxing, a club that Cruz Ramos and Ralph Navarro created four years ago to keep young men off the streets.
The two long-time boxing advocates use the sport to teach discipline, respect and character.
The club is based in Ramos’ garage, where equipment is provided to boxers.
Most of it is either donated by the community or his church, Changing Pointe in Yakima.
Dungeon Boxing is free to all who wish to participate.
But there’s a catch:
All members must take part and attend the “Life Group” Ramos hosts on Mondays.
“We just all come together and talk about life and our Sunday group from church,” Ramos said.
The club does plenty of outreach in the community, having recently hosted a free car wash.
Although the club only has men in its ranks, it hopes to expand to women.
“My goal is to have a bigger facility, with more equipment, so we can house more boxers and get girls involved, too,” he said.
Dungeon Boxing has two boxers fighting as amateurs, Erick Ruiz and Rigo Valdez.
Ruiz, 16, began training with the club after hearing about it from a friend.
“I went to one of the sessions back in July and I’ve enjoyed it since,” Ruiz said. “I like the intense training and discipline of the sport.”
For Valdez, 23, boxing has become an outlet to stay focused on a right path.
“I’ve been going here since last June, and it’s helped me turn my life around and prevents old habits,” Valdez said.
As the oldest of the group, he often uses his years of knowledge of the sport to guide the younger boxers.
“They look up to me and I try to teach them what I’ve learned, so they can become better,” he said.
Valdez has also noticed changes by attending the Life Group.
“I’ve met so many people and have heard their stories, which encourage me to be a better person,” he said.
Valdez and Ruiz hope to go pro one day and make a name for themselves.
So far, Valdez has a record of 3-1, while Ruiz is 1-1.
They’ll both be back in the ring July 9 for a boxing tournament in Seattle that will attract more than 15 clubs from across the Northwest.
For more information about the team, contact Ramos at 509-439-3879.