Thursday, December 15, 2016


By Juan Montoya
Fred "Cacho" Avila still remembers when Kassie came through the door of the gym over Tony's Body Shop that servers as a workout gym for the Southmost Area Community Boxing Club.

The gym is located on a floor above the body shop at 3407 Burton Drive and is owned by Tony Garcia, who lets the boxing club train there.

"I was sitting right there on that couch by the door when she walked in asking about joining the club," said the veteran boxing trainer. "When I saw her I knew she was the one. I could tell right off that she was a future champ."

Avila, who's spent more than 18 years training barrio kids in preparation for Golden Gloves tourneys, says that Kassandra Demetrio, 16, a forward on the female Porter High School soccer team, already has two victories under her belt and only one defeat.

"She won the 2016 RGV Golden Gloves at South Padre Island in June and another one held Nov. 25 in McAllen. She fought at 125 pounds as a heavyweight Jr," Avila said.

Kassie and Avila warmed up their training routine as the rest of the club's fighters looked on from their routines. Nearby, club sponsor and boxing enthusiast Jorge Sanchez, at 55, was making the speed bag bounce with a steady rhythm."

"Jorge and Tony Garcia, the owner of this body shop have been our sponsors as have others in the city," Avila siad. "As you can see, Jorge can still punch."

The 16-year-old boxer said she was hoping to have another fight lined up in McAllen in the coming days. She smiled shyly when asked whether she had been a scrapper growing up in the Southmost area.
"Yeah," she said. "I had a few fights."

Avila and Sanchez said that Kassie's work ethic and her natural talents should carry her far.

"She works at her fight and takes it seriously," Avila said. "She is a gold nugget and we were lucky she walked in that day."

Around the gym, Avila's Christian background is clearly discerned in the biblical quotes painted on the walls. Discipline, honor and preparation are themes that grace the walls of around the ring.

The majority of the 18 years that Avila has been training young fighters have been dedicated to recruiting local talent from the Brownsville barrios. Many of them have been from Southmost, but others come from different parts of the city.

"We welcome everyone who wants to work had and has the discipline to perfect their fighting game," he said. "You never know when we'll have someone like Kassie walk in through that door who will turn out to be a champion."

1 comment:

fred avila said...

sure looks Tuff

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