JACKSONVILLE – In a warehouse at the back of Raw Iron Gym on the corner of Bolton and Tena Streets, the Ramirez brothers have brought boxing back to Jacksonville.
Ricky and Roel Ramirez’s passion for the sport led them to start the Jacksonville Boxing Club in 2001.
For more than a decade Ricky and Roel trained kids in Roel’s one car garage in Jacksonville free of charge. But, in 2012, when they had to sell their home, the brothers were forced to step away from coaching and the club.
Being the only boxing club in the area, their hiatus left a large void in the community.
Now Ricky and Roel are back on the boxing scene and have found a home at Raw Iron. In the short time the club has been back up and running they officially began classes in early November — they already have three heavy bags (with more on the way), training gear and the rink is in the process of being built.
When asked what he hopes boxing will instill in his students, Ricky replied “boxing teaches you to never give in even when things are hard and to never back down or shy away from challenges.”
On average you can find 30 plus students in class on any given training day. In fact, the brothers are so highly regarded that several of their students who trained with them all those years ago have come back to train with them again.
One such student is Zaid Ramirez. Ramirez began training with Ricky and Roel when he was just eleven and even found success in the ring by winning more than one boxing match under their watch. Ramirez first met Roel at Nichols Intermediate where he was his math teacher.
Now 20-years-old, he couldn’t be happier to be back training with the brothers and returning to the Jacksonville Boxing Club. “I have to say I’m really excited about this club starting up again! Being in the club with the Ramirez brothers feels like home“ he said.
Ramirez, who is in the Army Reserves and currently attends Jacksonville College, hopes to compete at the 80th Annual East Texas Golden Gloves, happening February 13-15 in Longview, along with at least two other boxers, Ramey Saldivar and Nathan Gonzales, who train with the brothers.
Ricky and Roel have had boxing success in their own right. Ricky has professional experience and was runner-up in 1992 and 1995 at the Texas State Golden Gloves. Roel fought against 1992 USA Olympian Sergjo Reye on numerous occasions.
They attribute their love of boxing and success to their many great coaches including Robert Batton, Ron Decker and Ramiro and Robert Maldonado who taught them the skills and discipline that comes along with boxing.
Classes meet Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 5:30 pm and are open to children and adults. Classes are free of charge with a gym membership.