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Pint-size boxing champ

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Ray Maldonado, 10, not only loves boxing, he good at it. Champion good. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Ray Maldonado, 10, not only loves boxing, he good at it. Champion good. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Ray train one to two hours every weekday in a ring his family built in their backyard (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Ray train one to two hours every weekday in a ring his family built in their backyard (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Ray plans to compete in the Junior Olympics in May. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Ray plans to compete in the Junior Olympics in May. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

Ray Maldonado’s passion for boxing began when he was just 7 years old.

"I love boxing because you can punch, and every time I get in the ring I feel happy," Ray, now 10, said.

Ray's trainer, Ernie Gonzales, knew he had a gift the second he walked into the ring.

"I started training him and got him a few fights, and next thing you know we are going to state then regional and nationals," said Gonzales.

Ray doesn't have to go far to train. His family built him a full training facility in their backyard.

"Every day, Monday through Friday, I train two hours a day," Ray said.

What goes into that training?

"A lot of agility speed work and cardio and keep him always on the go," Gonzales said. "It’s all about balance. If you’ve got great balance, you won’t get hit. And as little and fast as he is, he doesn’t get hit."

Ray’s inspiration and idol is boxer Manuel Marquez. 

"He’s really good boxer, and he knocked out Manny Pacquiao," he said.

Already a national Silver Gloves champion, Ray is well on his way to being just as good as his idol.

He know he couldn't have done it without the support of his family. 

"My dad, my coach, my mom, my sister, everybody -- I win every tournament for them," the pint-size pugilist said.

Next up is a state championship fight, and then it’s on to the Junior Olympics, which takes place in May.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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