“I didn’t know anything about amateur boxing, I knew about Muhammad Ali and him going to the Olympics and stuff but that’s all I knew about amateur boxing. So I started training with all the pros, sparring with all the pros, until 2007 came along, the Olympics was being talked about and I remember asking, ‘What is the Olympics?’ because my knowledge wasn’t very clear.
“They started telling me about it and I was like ‘How do we get there?’ Nobody in the gym knew how to get there because we didn’t have a guy at the time who succeed past the national level yet alone the Olympics. But we knew one thing, that if we kept winning, we had a chance to get there.
“I remember saying ‘I’m gonna make it to the Olympics’. I had a lot of guys in the gym doubting me because I was still the fresh kid, but I knew that I was in it for the right reasons and that it was my calling to box. And from that point on I started winning all the Golden Gloves, all the national Golden Gloves, the Olympics trials, and then I finally qualified too.
“It’s been a journey for me, man. Just thinking about it, because that’s just half of the accomplishments that I’ve done, describing it’s bringing back all those feelings man, everything I had to go through, the sacrifice. Because I was still a father too, so I still had two jobs, and still trying to box full-time.
“If they understood my story and what I’ve been through, people would appreciate me a little bit more.”
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