On a recent visit to Las Vegas, it was another typical busy Friday night at Capetillo’s Boxing Gym.
At one point in the evening, Jorge Capetillo stopped the music and thanked a few of the gym sponsors who were there as special guests on this night. After that, it was a traditional “Happy Birthday” song for one of the young gym regulars who was celebrating a birthday.
At Capetillo Boxing, there is always singing and cake for any of the gym members on their birthday. There is a sense of togetherness, support and gratitude between both Jorge and his family, and the countless young boxers that pour through the doors each week.
Clearly, this gym is a special place for these young people.
Boxing is a tough sport, on both the amateur and professional levels. While the gym is often host to some outstanding professionals and amateurs, most of the young boxers here come into the gym to get in shape, enjoy the camaraderie of the sport and just be active as young people like to do. While most boxers in the gym won’t see their boxing career go much beyond these walls, you would never know it by the way Jorge and his coaches treat each and every fighter who comes in – they are all treated like champions.
The room is filled with the typical gym sounds of the rhythm of the speed bag, boxing gloves hitting the big bags, skipping ropes scraping off the floor, and boxers’ gloves landing crisp shots on the mitts of a coach. Over the top of it all is the booming voice of Jorge who yells encouragement and praise to every young person there. When you take an hour or so to work out at Capetillo’s Boxing Gym you are part of a community, part of a family. You are encouraged and supported to achieve whatever your goals might be. There is no pecking order. Every young person here is treated with encouragement, love, and respect.
The young athletes appreciate the kindness, support, and care shown by Jorge, a father figure and big brother to many of the young boys and girls that make their way to the gym.
Jorge has worked at different times throughout his career as a cutman and trainer with the elite of boxing, including the likes of Andy Ruiz, Tyson Fury, Jessie Magdaleno, Shakur Stevenson, the Vargas brothers, and many, many others. However, one of his greatest joys about him as a coach is working with the scores of young boys and girls that come into his gym each day. Along with the help and support of his lovely wife Griselda and their sons, the Capetillo Boxing Gym is making young people, many of whom will never have a boxing match, feel like champions.
Always humble and quick to praise others, Capetillo recently said, “The gym gives the kids a place to feel safe, a place to go, a place to call home. They can get into shape, stay off the streets, learn how to box. Maybe stay off their phones,” he said. “No Tic Toc-ing for a while,” he added with a laugh.
Some of the fighters at Capetillo Boxing may go on to have strong amateur careers, some might even fight professionally one day. In the meantime, every fighter in the gym, from a novice amateur to a seasoned professional, is made to feel like one of the family.
At a vulnerable and impressionable age, young people need a place to fit in, a place to call home. They need mentors and role models; at Capetillo Boxing, they get all of that and more.
In life, people might forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Every young boy or girl that walks through the doors of Capetillo Boxing, welcomed with support and kindness from the Capetillo family, is made to feel like a champion.
Thats a feeling they will never forget.
Next: Part 2–Interview with boxer Dylan Capetillo.