Olympic Boxing Hopefuls Duke It Out in North Texas

The journey to an Olympic medal usually starts at a young age. That's why the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is crawling with amateur boxers looking to punch their way to Olympic glory in four years when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

"That's our goal right now, the 2020 Olympics. We've got to keep working and keep training," said Jordan Jenkins, a fighter from Dallas.

More than 100 male and female fighters, ages 8 to 18, have come to Dallas for the USA Boxing's Junior Olympic and Prep National championships and Youth Open.

Tournament winners will likely end up on the USA Boxing radar and earn a spot on Team USA.

"I want to represent USA Boxing and be a champion one day," said Juan Velazquez who fights out of Duncanville. The 12-year-old is trained by his father. His "corner man" is his mother, Cindy.

"It's scary, but I'm used to it now. I can sit there and watch him fight now. I know what he's capable of and what he can do and what he can't do," she said. "He's so dedicated, he disciplines himself. We're going to the Olympics in 2020."

USA Boxing views the tournament as a way to fill the country's Olympic boxing pipeline with young talent. Shakur Stevenson is a prime example of how starting young can lead to future success. He remembers fighting and losing in similar tournaments as a 15-year-old. Now he is 19 and heading to Rio for the 2016 games.

"Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya they won gold medals and they became great after that. I have to go out there and be great," Stevenson said."

Juan Velazquez and Jordan Jenkins both made it to the next round Wednesday, meaning North Texas will be well represented when the bell rings on the final matches this weekend.

"You have to keep working, you have to push and push," Jenkins said. "It's all about faith and who wants it more."

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