Waco Boxing Club coach Jaime Lerma takes all comers, no matter the age.
"If someone walks through that door and tells me they want to train. I'll train them," said Lerma, "right now, we range in age from nine to 25."
That age range spans a team of 11 fighters. All of whom are competing this week in Fort Worth's Golden Gloves tournament. Something Lerma is extremely proud of, even though some of them have never fought in a competition before.
"The most I'd taken before this was four. To watch an 8 or 9 year old kid walk in the ring for the very first time and for that judge, for that referee in the middle of the ring to raise his hands you can just see the pride."
Some fighters come in with that sense of pride. Others, like 15-year-old Philip Hanley use the sport to develop it.
"Some guys were picking on me at school and I didn't like it so my dad got me into boxing so I could learn how to defend myself. And then I kept going and I thought about competing and next thing you know here I am now."
Where he is now is the winner of his first ever boxing match and a competitor in the final round. Some people might think driving three hours round trip to get punched in the face is a strange idea, but boxers are a different breed.
"[Driving to] punch in the face. That's how I look at it," said 25-year-old Jherion Levesque. He's also fighting in his first ever bout.
It'd be easy for a coach like Lerma to take credit for that development. Young men came into his gym looking to learn self defense, or challenge themselves as an athlete. Instead, he pushes all the praise back to them.
"I can tell you what to do. I can coach you, but I can't make your hands leave, can't make them leave your face and come back. They're doing it on their own.
If you have the courage to step in that ring on your own, you've already accomplished a lot."
The rest of the club is hoping their team can accomplish a lot more by the time finals are over Saturday.
Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.