By Coleman Swierc - email
TROUP, TX (KLTV) - Boxing, by nature, is a toughman's sport.
"I am in there to do on thing, beat up the guy in front of me," said Marco Rubio.
"It gets in your blood, you just have to do it," said Shawn Vascocu, head coach of the Tyler Boxing Gym, "If you have a love of it, you just cant get away from it"
Vascocu would know.
A multi-time gold gloves winner himself, he now coaches, the future of East Texas boxing.
"Even if you don't know boxing, you know Golden Gloves," said Vascocu. "Golden Gloves is it in East Texas, and to win a Golden Gloves title means everything to a kid."
"This is actually the biggest tournament of the year," said Kenneth Taylor. "It is really fun, and I am looking forward to it."
This week, hundreds of fighters from the area, like Taylor and Rubio, will take the ring, with a chance to punch their way, to boxing's next level, as the Golden Gloves tournament, comes to East Texas.
"It makes a fighter, this tournament right here makes the fighter," said Taylor. "It helps them progress, it molds them."
"All the hours in the gym, all the miles and miles of running, it all paid off in this moment," said Rubio, "So it is a moment that you want to last forever."
And when the moment is over, maybe one day, they will have their picture on the wall, at the Byron Payton Memorial Gym in Troup, next to some of boxings all time greats.
"If you have your picture on this wall, it means you have done a few things in the sport," said Vascocu.
"I just want the be where they are at, and where they have been," said Taylor.
"All those fighters that have come out of East Texas, and to be one of them, and to be represented as one of them would be a great honor." said Rubio, "I want to say that I did boxing, and I did it as best I could, I want to leave that impression."
The 71st annual Golden Gloves tournament will start on Friday, January 7th at 6:00, at the UT-Tyler Herrington-Patriot Center.
The event runs through Sunday.