A resident of the boxing capital of the world, Las Vegas, the 26-year-old Gonzales is the lone American to win gold medals at last year’s World Championships and the 2022 AMBC Elite Tournament in Ecuador. He edged Aliaksei Alfiorau (Bulgaria), 3-2, at the World Championships, 4-1 over Isais Ribeiro (Brazil) at AMBC Elite.
“It (winning a gold medal) was really great because I went through a lot with COVID and not competing in the (2020) Olympics,” Gonzales commented. “I went to the World Championships to compete, experience the Worlds, and then go pro. I never thought I’d win and just wanted to put it on my resume. To win it all was a dream come true. Something in my gut said, don’t let there be any regrets if I turned pro.
“The main reason I started boxing was to be an Olympian. I figured that, if I won the Worlds, I could do it at the Olympics. I’m more confident after those championships and I learned how to get the job done. If I can work hard, I can do it; I know what to do. I’ve now fought under the bright lights and go the job done. When I do go pro, I’ll be 28, but I won’t need a lot of fights. I think I can start at 8 or 10 round fights and go for a title early. I’m fighting pros now. A lot of fighters from overseas, especially in Europe, are already pros.”
Gonzales is a grinder who has overcome several disappointments that would have derailed other boxers who would have already turned pro.
“The first time (he could have been an Olympian),” Gonzales remarked, “I wasn’t focused enough or as focused as I am now or in 2020. I was just 19. The second time (2020 Tokyo), I won the Olympic Trials, but I didn’t have enough international points, and the Qualifiers were canceled because of COVID. We couldn’t leave the country to compete because the United States was in a red zone. And my father made me take courses (instead of competing in other tournaments to earn points). He did motivate me for the World Championships, saying: ‘When you lose what’s the excuse?’ It took me a while to understand, I took it personally wondering why he’s said that to me. But it was like a metaphor…..I figured it out that he was really saying don’t let there be any excuses.
“Right now, I’m training at evaluation camp to be on Team USA in 2023. If I can win the Worlds (2022) and Pan American Games, maybe a few other international matches, I’ll have enough points to qualify for the Olympics (2024 in Paris). Everybody is good at this level, and I have a target on me because I’m number 1. Now, I have to remain number 1.”
The easy move for any one of these gifted boxers would have been turning pro, grabbing a signing bonus, and fighting tomato cans for a couple of years to build their records.
Harvey, Ellis, and Gonzales, though, have taken the advantages offered by USA Boxing, accepting the challenge to remain in Olympic-style boxing, benefit from fighting opponents from around the world against their diverse styles, and eventually jewelry shopping in Paris for gold.
Two of USA Boxing’s “Terrific Trio” are scheduled to compete in the USA Boxing International Invitationals starting today (September 12-15) at Pueblo Convention Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Top elite boxers will compete from 6 different countries including the United States, China, Germany, and Philippines, featuring Olympians and World Championship medalists.
For our Facebook page click the following link Boxen247 Facebook or to advertise with us, click the following link advertise with us