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Boxer enjoying success in the ring

Wednesday, February 20, 20131606 views

What started out as merely watching a younger brother practice boxing at Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym in South Jordan quickly turned into a desire by Andrew Cruz to try out the sport for himself. And, despite getting “beat up a lot” initially during the past five years, the 17-year-old has been on the giving end of the blows lately.

In December, Cruz defeated Matthew Ochoa at the XSI Factory in Lehi. He also defeated a pair of other highly-regarded boxers last fall. He was scheduled to compete at Pal Gym in mid-February.

“I really like boxing a lot,” Cruz said. “I didn’t want to give up on it just because I wasn’t winning at first. The more I’m training, the better I’m getting.”

The five-foot-nine 145-pounder lost his first fight as he got his start in boxing and faced a question from his father. “Do you want this?” his dad, Sotero Cruz, asked him and proceeded to talk to him about training hard to become better promising to help prepare him for each match. The younger Cruz responded and even though he lost a few more fights, a turning point came for him when he faced a bigger and stronger opponent from Pal’s Gym a couple of years ago. “This guy was totally more muscular than me, but I ended up winning,” Cruz said. “That gave me a lot of confidence from then on.”

Cruz’s coach, Jay Fullmer, said the junior at Copper Hills is one of the best boxers in his club. “He’s not a real heavy puncher,” Fullmer said. “But he’s fast and he can hit and run before opponents even know what hit them.”

Sotero Cruz enjoys the time his family of six spends around the sport of boxing. But, more importantly, he loves the discipline in and out of the ring and the respect for other people it has instilled in his teenage son. “I tell Andrew to fight for what you want in life,” he said.

Andrew Cruz said the 10 hours a week he spends training has increased his concentration and focus in all areas of his life, including boxing.

Fullmer noted some recent scoring system changes to the sport that will have him adjusting training with his boxers. “Andrew’s going to have to start throwing five hard punches rather than 10 quick ones,” he said. “But, he throws enough punches, it shouldn’t affect him.”

Andrew Cruz hopes to get in more fights this year as he prepares for the Golden Gloves in Salt Lake in May and dreams of regional, state and professional aspirations beyond that competition.

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