Local gym an outlet for young boxers


Tony Moreno, 11, does pad work with Joe Cardenas at Refuse to Lose Boxing Gym on Nov. 24th.

Nate Perez, Reporter

The thought of somebody trying to hit you as hard as they humanly can is a scary one. The fact that it is completely legal, and the main objective of boxing, is even scarier.

On a regular training session, there is between 10-15 fighters training at Refuse To Lose boxing gym.

“They come and they go,” said owner, Joe Cardenas.

He continues, “They’re almost all amateur fighters. I got one pro, but he’s on vacation.”

Refuse to Lose boxing gym is located at 1131 19th St., and is open from 3:30 p.m. until the last person leaves, usually between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m.

The gym is a very loud environment with alarms going off every three minutes. The sounds of grunts being let out every time somebody hits a bag is common and loud music is thrown somewhere in between.

To join Refuse to Lose boxing gym, you need to pay $45 monthly, have some handwraps and your own mouthpiece. What one doesn’t tell you bravery is a requirement. The rest of the equipment, such as gloves, jump rope and headgear are available at the gym.

Cardenas himself was an amateur boxer in the ‘80s and trained out of Ten Goose boxing gym in North Hollywood with Joe Goosen. Many world champions have trained with Goosen including the late Diego Corrales, Gabriel and Rafael Reuelas, Terry Norris, Michael Nunn and others.

One fighter who trains at Refuse to Lose is 11-year-old Tony Moreno. He’s fought for regional titles and has competed in multiple tournaments throughout California including one in Oxnard hosted by famed boxing trainer, Robert Garcia.

Another fighter that Cardenas trains is 8-year-old Joel Iriarte. Iriarte currently has had two amateur fights, but has been training for almost one year. Boxing is something that Iriarte has wanted to do willingly since he was 6 years old. No pressure from his dad or anybody else, just himself.

Iriarte said, “I like boxing a lot. It gets my anger out.”

A daily training regimen at Refuse to Lose starts with a jog followed by jump rope, shadow boxing, three or four rounds of the heavy bag, three rounds of the double-end bag, three rounds of the speed bag, followed by pad work with the trainer, and finally ab work. The routine typically lasts two hours. If a fighter is getting ready for a fight, sparring is also thrown somewhere in the mix.

When asked what it takes to be a boxer, Cardenas said, “You have to really love it. You can love something, but you can’t love it enough to actually do it.” He continues, “You can do it for the sport, but when you love it, you’ll do anything.”