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The road to the pros for Yuma boxer Erick Gutierrez

A strong work ethic and passion for helping the next generation of fighters has helped Gutierrez find success in the pro circuit, with hopes of bringing back a championship belt to Yuma

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Erick Gutierrez was 12 years old when he first got into the boxing ring, saying he was always picked on as a smaller kid. 

Taking an interest in fighting, he discovered the Yuma Fight Academy, owned by Gary Diaz, who now serves as Gutierrez’s coach.

“I just thought of him as any other kid you know he just wants to get out of the streets wants to try a new sport, like any other kid you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Diaz said.

Overtime, Gutierrez kept showing up, working out, sparring with bigger kids, and displaying a work ethic that set him apart from his peers.

“I knew he was tough, but he kept coming back and working, he was one of the first ones at the gym when he would show up, and I said you know what, this kid could do it,” Diaz said.

Gutierrez would start fighting at the amateur level, going 8-1 in his nine fights. 

Then, in March of 2023, he’d make his pro debut at just 18 years old, fighting in the flyweight division at 112 pounds. 

“I loved it, you know, I loved the feeling of the atmosphere, atmosphere, the people, the crowd, you know, it's awesome,” Gutierrez said.

Now, he's is 6-1 as a pro, going for his seventh on Saturday June 24.

Even with the success, it hasn’t changed his passion for helping the next generation of fighters.

He can constantly be found helping kids at the gym, even ahead of big fights like his next one. 

“I show them a bit in the ring you know, what it’s like, just try to make them feel comfortable, I let them learn, so you know it’s really great being able to help out kids,” Gutierrez said.

Diaz recognizes the passion Gutierrez has for the next generation as well.

“I think that’s his quality being a humble person, understanding the kids and what he went through,” Diaz said.

Eventually, Gutierrez hopes to be the first boxer to bring a world championship back to Yuma.

Showing that even those from a small town can make their dreams come true. 

“You don't have to be in a big city to do it, to do big big things, I hope I'm setting the way and that it's a goal for kids here and other kids are boxing,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez is also looking for sponsors, which can get your logo featured on his trunks.

If you're interested, you can reach out to Erick via his Instagram or Facebook.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez covers sports and weather for KYMA.

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