A 12-year-old boxer from Syracuse, NY ranks among the country's best, vies for his first U.S. Boxing Silver Gloves title.
It is often said that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Boxing is an art form that is as mental as it is physical. It requires attention to detail, patience, discipline, and it requires dedication.
The Rays Kids boxing program at the West Athletic Center teach this philosophy to young trainees, as they 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 center to learn and practice boxing. Now 12, Lungz has risen to the top of youth boxing and in 2016 was 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. 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 U.S. 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.
In 2017, after breezing through his first two fights, Lungz was set for a rematch in the championship against the young boxer who beat him the previous 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.