LYNN — It’s been a productive and special summer for Lynn native Alex Sepulveda and the boxers he trains at his gym, Private Jewels Fitness.
After organizing a successful event in “Boxing For Hope” back in June, Sepulveda brought the “King of the Ring Series” to Lynn’s St. Michael’s Hall. The series ran for three Fridays, with last night being the final event of the three-part tournament.
“The tournament has been beautiful and unbelievable,” Sepulveda said. “It’s like a dream come true. It’s a reality, all the hard work we put into this. There was a lot of anticipation, waiting for this, and it came together beautifully.”
Three of the boxers Sepulveda trains at Private Jewels took part in the series. Marblehead native Zach Calmus earned a second place finish in the heavyweight division. Salem’s Charlie Espinal advanced to the final in the 152-pound welterweight division. Moises Zorralla, of Lynn, advanced to the final in the 132-pound lightweight division.
“All of them looked great,” Sepulveda said. “All of the kids looked amazing. The nationals are coming up in September. It’s a pre-qualifier for the Olympics, and if they win they get to go onto Tennessee for qualification for the Olympic team. Four kids got invited out of our gym and that’s huge. Most gyms get one kid, but we were fortunate enough to get four.”
Prior to the start of the tournament, Sepulveda advised his trio of talented bouters to remain confident in themselves. He added that the dedication he’s seen from his boxers in preparing for the series is what stands out the most to him.
“I told them the sky’s the limit,” Sepulveda said. “You can never give yourself limitations. Once you give yourself limitations, you become limited. You have to open your mind because hard work comes a long way and these kids are showing that. These kids are role models, they train hard and they eat right. That type of dedication is special.”
Sepulveda added, “That’s the type of mindset that we look for. That’s the mindset that we want and that’s the type of mindset that we want to set for everybody. I’m just a really proud coach.”
All proceeds from the “King of the Ring Series” went towards the boxing program at Private Jewels. Tickets for each night of the event went for $20 and all three portions of the tournament collected a strong showing. A total of 435 spectators made it out for the first night while the second drew 510 fans.
“I’m just really surprised in the support we’ve received,” Sepulveda said. “The community and the sponsors have really come together. Everyone has done their part in this. We’re going to continue to do it and the event will only get bigger and bigger. Everybody came together and helped us out. It was a beautiful thing going on.”
Sepulveda added, “All the money is going to the boxing program. A lot of our members are kids that are high-risk members that can’t afford it. The revenue from this event helps these kids stay focused and these kids are hungry, they really want it.”
He also hopes that those who attended the events came away with a sense of what it takes to box. While most might feel as though that consists solely of punching, Sepulveda noted that there’s plenty more that goes into boxing.
“Everybody loved it,” Sepulveda said. “It’s showing all different types of kids coming together as one. It shows that boxing isn’t just punching each other in the head. Boxing is an art that requires all sorts of different skills and people are seeing that. I’ve gotten great feedback. The kids are loving it and that’s great.”
For Sepulveda, a Lynn Tech alum and former boxer, the overall goal is to bring boxing back to his hometown. That’s the dream he’s been focused on achieving and will continue to chase.
“Everything that we do goes towards helping the kids and helping the boxing program,” Sepulveda said. “We keep them positive and keep them motivated. In June, we Boxed For Hope and we’ll do that again next year. We’re going to bring boxing back to Lynn, the way it should be.”