Sebastian Juarez of Brownsville added to his amateur boxing accomplishments by winning a Silver Gloves regional tournament championship last week in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After winning a Silver Gloves state title in December, Sebastian is now a regional champion for an area covering seven states and has qualified for the first time for the Silver Gloves Nationals Feb. 1-3 in Independence, Missouri. He has made it to nationals in other boxing competitions and even won national belts, but never in Silver Gloves.
The 12-year-old seventh-grader at Oliveira Middle School drew a bye in the opening round of tournament competition in Little Rock and then defeated Demetri Williams of Louisiana on a three-round decision Friday in the 11-12 boys 95-pound final. The young Brownsville fighter had a strong showing despite battling the flu at the tournament.
He became the only boxer from Brownsville to qualify for the Silver Gloves national tournament this year.
Rudy Vallejo Jr., a freshman at Hanna, made it to the 13-14 boys 132-pound final, but came up short against Kam’ron Hills of Louisiana.
Sebastian was able to pull out the win in his final.
“I think my speed helped me dominate that fight (against Williams),” Sebastian said. “I was sick at the same time, so (it was a really good win). It feels good to be going to the Silver Gloves nationals for the first time.”
Juarez trains at the recently opened RGV Elite Gym at 3140 Ruben Torres Blvd. in Brownsville. The gym is behind the Cameron County Educational Initiative building. Sebastian’s father, Rudy Juarez Jr., operates the gym.
The Juarezes are a boxing family and Sebastian is the most active one at the moment.
Sebastian’s older brothers, Rudy III, 20, and Omar, 18, have participated in boxing and are now involved with other pursuits.
Rudy III ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash while at Fort Lauderdale Community College and recently was recruited to play football as a running back at NCAA Division II Lindenwood University in Belleville, Illinois.
Omar graduated early at Hanna in 2016 as a 16-year-old and is now a sophomore at Texas Southmost College. His boxing career is on hold at the moment as he makes an impact as a motivational speaker locally. For the past six months or so, Omar has spoken to elementary and middle school students at approximately 15 schools in Brownsville ISD plus Incarnate Word Academy.
Omar just spoke to about 1,000 students at Russell Elementary, Cromack Elementary and Besteiro Middle School last week. He talks to students about having goals in life and how important it is to make the right choices while growing up.
With sister Katya,11, involved in competitive dancing, there’s plenty of activity in the Juarez family along with boxing.
“I want to represent my city with pride (at the Silver Gloves Nationals next month), Sebastian said.
A sanctioned amateur boxing show with 25 fights is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday at South Texas Fighting Academy located at 440 W. 3-Mile Line in Palmhurst. For more information, contact Stanley Carr at (956) 246-0640.
Brownsville featherweight Johnny “Blaze” Tapia (8-1, three knockouts) goes against former Olympian Shakur Stevenson (4-0, two KOs) on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada. Stevenson, a New Jersey native, won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The fight is scheduled to be shown on an ESPN channel.
The STFC 45 mixed martial arts cage fighting show is scheduled March 2 at McAllen Convention Center. For more information, call (956) 562-2622 or (956) 414-8698.