Young Odessa boxers shine on national stage

“Success is never owned, it’s only rented. And rent is due everyday.”

The Odessa Boxing Club posted the quote to social media in October, after several of its athletes fared well at a tournament. The saying offers some insight into the success the Club’s athletes have had not just locally but on the national stage.

Six Odessa Boxing Club boxers — Josh Franco, Jayden Navarrette, Marcello Navarrette, Jorge Sanchez, Erdey Juarez and Harvey Sanchez — qualified for the 2022 USA Boxing National Championships at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center from Dec. 5-10.

Three of them — Harvey Sanchez, Franco and Navarette — advanced to the semifinals of the national tournament, which featured a total of 1,306 athletes of varying weight and age groups from throughout the nation.

Perhaps these boxers have been eating their Wheaties. Esmeralda Carrizoza, who is Harvey Sanchez’s mother, says the recipe for their success has been “hard work and dedication.”

“These kids have worked extremely hard for this tournament with two hour long practices after school,” Carrizoza said. “This sport has a positive impact on our kids, and it should not be overlooked.”

Jayden, Harvey, Josh

USA Boxing, a national governing body for Olympic Style Boxing, hosts the weeklong USA Boxing National Championships and only qualifying athletes can participate. USA Boxing is overseen by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Boxing Association.

USA Boxing uses a ranking system to identify and track the nation’s top boxers. Franco is ranked No. 1; Navarette No. 2 and Jorge Sanchez is No. 9. In the Lubbock tournament, Harvey Sanchez qualified for the semifinals in the Bantam male division (65 pounds); Franco qualified for the semifinals in the youth male division (147 pounds); and Navarette qualified for the semifinals in the Junior division (114 pounds).

The kids train under Coach Ramon Franco. Parents of the athletes in the program collectively praise Franco’s approach to mentoring youth.

“No other word describes him better than discipline. He teaches our kids discipline, responsibility and respect,” parents of the athletes said in a joint statement. “Nowadays not a lot of coaches do that, and it is what our kids need. Coach Ramon will disregard a kid’s talent if he isn’t disciplined or is disrespectful.”