Stockton, CA —The echo of a rope hitting the ground, constant punches to sand bags, and echoes of men and woman on boxing training mode fill the Yaqui Lopez Fat City gym walls — a gym under the leadership of Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez.
Yaqui Lopez, is remembered for challenging the World Light Heavyweight Boxing title five times; although he did not succeeded as the title holder, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 13, 2007. “I am pleased to be among the champions who have been inducted into the hall of fame,” shared Lopez.
Today, Lopez’ focus is outside of the ring. He has a vision to help younger generations reach their goals. Lopez now trains and stands at the ring’s corner as Jack Cruz, his late father-in-law and manager, did during his 12-year career.
“I know that this guys have the potential of climbing the boxing later, I know they have the potential to reach their goals,” Lopez highlighted the hard work of each of the participants and what that means to him.
“I started training very young,” explained Abel Carreon, Stockton resident, who spends a minimum of two and a half hours training and runs an average of 10 miles a day. Fat City has kept him out of trouble, “I come from the streets, being here keeps me healthy and out of trouble,” Carreon recognizes the positive impact of Yaqui Lopez’ vision. Similar to Carreon’s story there are others who prefer spending their time training rather than to be in the streets.
The gym is open to the public with a nominal fee to keep the equipment running. “We don’t get paid for all the work we do with the kids,” Lopez is grateful of the support he receives from several volunteers who help him keep and maintain the gym. Lopez explained that, “we ask for a small contribution to maintain the equipment and to get other training equipment needed.”
Fat City Boxing Gym is constantly replacing damaged equipment as its natural boxing use tears and wears many items fast. Many have stepped up to helping Lopez with equipment, and funds, “We operate as a not-for-profit organization; so, we constantly encourage our community to help.”
If you or someone you know is interested in joining Yaqui Lopez’s Fat City Boxing Club you may reach their office at (209) 800-2977. The gym is located at 835 E. Miner Avenue, Stockton, CA 95202.
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