Not everyone who walks into a boxing gym becomes a world champion.
We want you to meet a local boxing trainer, who’s teaching his students that they can still become champions in life.
Good citizens with morals and values, because that’s his story.
And it’s paying off big time.
Call it the house that Ernie Chavarria built.
Bigger and better than ever.
“Gimme 5 more. Gimme 5 more. Gimme 5 more,” he shouts to his students. “Let’s go. Gimme 5 more.”
Boxing has been his life, he says, since he was 12.
And over 5 decades, he’s trained champions, like Corpus Christi’s own Jerry Belmontes, and former heavyweight champ Merciless Ray Mercer come to mind.
But he prefers talking about those who may never be champions, at least, in the ring.
“You don’t become just a world champion. Not everybody does that, but you become a good citizen with morals and values. That’s what I’m trying to teach ’em,” he told us.
By moving into this new, bigger facility on staples, Chavarria’s able to offer women’s kickboxing classes.
And with help from many, his club just became a non-profit organization.
“Why is being a non-profit a big deal for you? For being a non-profit, that will help these kids get the memberships. A lot of these kids can’t afford the memberships.”
For years, Chavarria and volunteers, have trained kids for free.
Kept the lights on, the doors open, bought equipment, and traveled to tournaments, thru fund-raisers and donations.
And the kids keep coming, maybe because of how Chavarria helps them when the gloves are off.
Discipline problems at school become discipline problems in here.
“I used to be real disrespectful,” 13-year-old Juan Cavazos shared. “And I’ve changed a lot ’cause of boxing.”
“What I do is suspend them,” Chavarria says. “I suspend them for a week. 2 weeks. If they don’t come back, they don’t come back. If they come back, I know I’m doing the right thing.”
12-year-old Joe Angel Perez told us, “I’m getting good grades. What does that feel like? Good.”
In two weeks, Chavarria takes this group of students to Laredo for the Junior Olympics.
And they’d be grateful for any donations to help with expenses.
For more information on the gym, check out their Facebook page.