WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — There is one name that always comes up when the topic of boxing and Waco are discussed together.
And that name is Lerma.
From traveling around the world and sharing the ring with boxers Raul Marquez, Tim Austin, Oscar Dela-Hoya
Former world champion boxer Jaime Lerma is now mentoring kids at the same gym where he first started his boxing journey.
“I’ve been able to do that, and that’s what I’m trying to tell these kids. It is boxing. Something you want to pursue and something you want to do. You can get so much more out of it.”
Lerma offers a free monthly program at the Waco Boxing Club for kids under the age of 18. Lerma says boxing is a way to get kids to stay out of trouble.
“It’s a great feeling being able to pass on what I learned and what I’ve experienced and trying to get other kids the opportunity. The same opportunities that I had growing up with it”
Lerma grew up in a Mexican-American household where his dad introduced him to boxing at an early age.
“Growing up here. My dad didn’t have opportunities to be in sports, and he had three sons, so he was gonna put us in every sport he could. And boxing was one of his favorite,”
Unfortunately, Lerma’s father passed away when he was just beginning. Which almost made him put away his boxing gloves. But his boxing coach Gilbert “Cuate” Sanchez saw something in Lerma and put him back in the ring.
“But after my dad passed and “Cuate” encouraged me to get back, I wanted to do it for my dad. And then that’s when I got back in and started taking it serious. And five years later, I was top 3 in the nation”
Lerma says it wasn’t easy to get there. He wants kids with similar backgrounds like him to know they can get to that level.
It took serious training with coaches pushing him to pursue his dreams.
“I want them to see that I’m from Waco. I’m from the same streets of South Waco growing up here, North Waco as well. It can be done.'”