King of the ring: Area boxer a jab away from world tournament

MERCEDES — Christian Roman punched his way in the boxing ring for the chance to train at the United States Olympic Training Center next month.

He has his bags packed and passport ready.

If he proves himself at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado he will get his shot to represent Team USA at the AIBA World Boxing Championship Tournament in Germany in August.

“Not a lot of boxers get to this level,” Roman said. “I will get to experience what an Olympian experiences.”

The southpaw from Weslaco found his home at Beto’s Boxing Gym. He is nationally ranked number two in the 141 pound weight class by USA Boxing.

Roman currently holds an armature record of 98-11. He competes in three round bouts three minutes long.

“I’m more than ready for what’s to come,” Roman said.

Roman said his father, Roel Roman, gave him his first pair of boxing gloves and taught him combinations when he was 3-years-old.

And 15 years later Roman has become an elite fighter who has his eye on making the 2024 Olympic boxing team.

Hamburg, Germany is one of the proposed sites for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“If all goes well I really hope to establish myself over there and get ready for the amateur games,” Roman said. “I have put some certain things together and they have worked for me.”

He said he has been training hard in the gym and conditioning to stay prepared.

“He is very dedicated, he follows instructions and he’s always in condition,” said Beto Carr, Romans boxing coach. “And that is number one. You have to be in tip-top condition to make it at the elite level.

“He’s one of the very few that I have seen that is very dedicated and I’m sure he will make it big,” Carr said. “You got to be ready to go just like a soldier.”

Roman, 18, will be competing with the 17-18 year olds. He heads out to West Virginia for a national competition this week. And after those matches he will travel to Colorado.

Carr said USA Boxing recruits teams to fight in international tournaments to prepare boxers for the Olympics.

“They are preparing these kids to be competitive with the rest of the world,” Carr said. “Anytime you go to a world championship it’s the real thing. They are not going to send a fighter unless the athletes prove they are able to compete at the high level.”

Roman said he is more than excited for his opportunity.

“All my hard work is paying off,” Roman said. “But there is still a lot more to accomplish in the sport of boxing.”