The Shafter Boxing Club has spent the past two decades building a reputation of world-class boxers. At this year's National Silver Gloves Championships in Independence, Mo., they provided more evidence – five National Champions, giving the team the most titles of any club in the competition.
Led by Coach Mike Ayon and a team of volunteers, the club competed in the State Championships to qualify for the Regional Championships. The Region 8 is comprised of boxers from California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.
With their team qualifying for the Nationals after their Regional titles, the team traveled to Independence for the National Silver Gloves Championships.
Those coming away with championship belts were Edgar Martinez Jr. in the Boys 8 80 lb. Division, James Rodriguez in the 9-10 85 lb. division, Jerikah Argueta Wilson in the girls 9-10 55 lb. division, Analyse Deleon in the 9-10 65 lb. division and Valentina Aguilar in the girls 11-12 year old 132 lb. division.
All of the boxers received championship belts and medals for their wins. At the end of the competition, Ayon and the Shafter Boxing Club was given the Overall Championship Belt, given to the top club in the Nationals. This was won by a Shafter team that competed against clubs up to 10 times the size of them, with some clubs coming from Los Angeles, Chicago and one of the powerhouse teams of the nation, a former national champion team from Milwaukee, Wis.
The team has come a long way from a group of kids working out in Ayon's backyard or garage, giving the kids something to do to keep fit and out of trouble.