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WHS Senior Living His Dream Trying to Make the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team

 

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Widefield High School senior Luisjoe Ybarra Jr. is continuing to live a childhood dream.

Ybarra Jr. is working toward securing a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team. He has been working on making the Olympic team since having that dream at the age of 7.

"He was just a little boy with dreams of going to the Olympics one day," said his coach and father, Luis Ybarra, Sr., who owns Ybarra's Boxing Club in Widefield.

After getting his junior black belt in Kempo Karate, Luisjoe took an interest in boxing. Luisjoe took his idea of becoming an Olympic boxer some day to his father.

"Boxing is a whole different sport," Luis Ybarra Sr. said. "I know because I've been training boxers since the late 70s and you have to jump in it with both feet and you can't look back.

Luisjoe said, "Dad, when can we get started?" 

Since that day Luisjoe has won numerous state Golden Gloves Titles, Regional Titles, Championships, and National Championships titles. Most recently, he won a 2018 Silver Medal at the Dublin, Ireland International Championships. 

There will be three different chances for Luisjoe to rank in the top two spots at a tournament which would allow him to qualify for the Olympic trials. The Western Elite Championships is scheduled for March 23-30 in Reno, Nevada. The Eastern Elite is scheduled for October in Ohio and the Last Chance Tournament is scheduled for December in Louisiana.

His father said it's a little bit trickier this year to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. 

They have done away with the 132lb weight division for the Elite Mens Olympic Division in which Luisjoe fights. Also, there is no longer a 140lb weight division. The weight classes are 114, 125, 138, 152, 165,178, 201, and 201+.

"So, as you can see, Luisjoe has to move up to 138 and the 140s have to move down or up to 152," he said. 

Luisjoe said it doesn't matter. 

"Whatever obstacles they put in front of me I can overcome," he said. "It's like my dad always said, 'jump in with both feet or stay at home.'"

Luisjoe is confident that he will make the Olympic trial. He said he appreciated all the support he has received over the years, especially from his family, friends, Fountain Valley residents and Widefield School District 3 staff.

"I just want to say thank you to all the people that have supported me and believed in me," he said.

Persons wanting to make a donation to help Luisjoe on his journey to fulfill his Olympic dream can donate at any ENT Federal Credit Union (Ybarra's Boxing Club) or call his father at 719-237-6982. 

 

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