After the Bell: Fort Worth boxing




Posted on April 19, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 21 at 12:58 PM

DALLAS - While one's first thought of boxing is fighting, the sport is teaching some kids in Fort Worth about respect one punch at a time.

Joe Hidrogo, who owns the boxing gym Round One in Fort Worth, gives the kids a fighting chance. 

"You're learning self defense," he said. "You're learning a sport. You're learning to build confidence, self esteem." 

Three afternoons a week, through the Fort Worth After School program, Hidrogo teaches 20 to 30 students at Stripling Middle School the basics of boxing. Most, like eight-grader Humberto Ruelas, are newcomers to the sport. 

"Two years ago, I didn't even know [or] think about boxing and now I want to become a professional boxer," he said.

The program helps keep kids off the streets, which is a big relief for many parents. Elizabeth Martinez's son started the program four years ago. 

"He was real self conscious, not wanting anyone to look at him," she said. "Now, he's proud of himself. He's got confidence in himself, so it really helped him out a lot."

A boxing program to keep kids out of trouble may seem like a contradiction,  but the goal is to get the kids to follow rules and learn respect and discipline - both physical and mental. 

"I don't understand what 'yeah' means, 'huh' means," Hidrogo said. "They have to talk to me with a 'yes' and 'no.'"