By Jase Jones, Reporter
The boxing scene in Grand Island is alive and well. There are several clubs in town where fighters go to train for fitness and competition.
One local gym, Double R Boxing, has several up-and-coming fighters training and competing in local bouts.
Two fighters from Double R have won big local events. The gym now holds a regional Golden Glove win, and the belt for the Buffalo Bill Brawl that takes place in North Platte.
Oliver Rivera, a pro boxer who trains at Double R, has also won the Heartland Boxing Championship belt.
Reuben Rodriguez is the promoter behind the fights that take place at Heartland. He finds fighters and matches them up. It’s also the Double R ring that is used in the bouts.
His rings have also been used on ESPN for several main event fights.
The gym owner and coach, Rodriguez, has been boxing for as long as he can remember.
“I remember my grandpa put me in boxing, It was the best thing he could have done,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez fell in love with the sport after his grandfather put him in a class. He had over 100 amateur fights before turning pro. He competed in America and Mexico.
He also participated in two MMA fights, where he went 1-1. One fight, he won by a knockout. His loss was due to a submission by a guillotine choke.
He went a few years after retiring from professional boxing before opening the gym.
The gym started out with just a few kids and now has some classes packed with 15 people at once.
In the first weeks of December Rodriguez will have three fighters in a local competition in Fullerton, Nebraska.
In the weeks leading up to the event the fighters will be training and working on getting their weight to where it needs to be. The weight cut is oftentimes the most difficult part for the fighters, some losing over 10 pounds.
One fighter, Amori Coranado said, “I’m not worried about fighting these [guys], I’m just worried about my weight.”
Along with training these boxers for their upcoming competition, Rodriguez is still working at his day job. After work he only has a few minutes before he heads to open up his gym.
“My goal is to be able to do this full time,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, like his fighters, is very passionate about the sport he loves.