13 year old Oliver Badillo, a Vanston Middle School student, was enrolled in the Dallas PAL Boxing program 6 years ago when his father noticed that he was always getting in fights in their old Pleasant Grove Apartment complex.
But over the weekend, on February 6, 2016, Oliver fought in his first National Championship tournament in Kansas City, MO., and won the Silver Gloves competition in the 106- pound weight class. “It’s a great feeling; you see all your hard work paid off.” Oliver said.
While waking up at 6 a.m., to go run 4 ½ miles before going to school, then heading to the PALS boxing gym afterwards, Oliver said the hardest thing about training for a fight is the dieting part. “Training makes me feel good. I enjoy the work outs, but maintaining weight is hard.” said Oliver. “He has to eat very healthy; I make sure he has lots of fruits and vegetables, along with his protein power bars.” stated the proud mother, Adela Rodriguez.
Dallas Police Senior Corporal Daniel Espinosa, also known as Coach Danny, stated that from the moment he stepped foot into the gym to now; he noticed that his maturity level had grown rapidly. “He is much more disciplined. He works hard on his own; self-initiated. He used to think he knew it all, but now, he knows the importance of listening to his corner.” With improved coordination and confident levels rising, Coach Danny sees a very potential future for young Oliver.
Oliver said that he used to think that police officers were just out in the streets to get the “bad guys”, but now his perception has changed. “They are normal people like you and me. They put a lot of effort to make sure you succeed.” One of the things his mother likes about the Dallas PAL Boxing program is that they feel safe and secure while at the gym and also while traveling to competitions.
With a relaxed mindset before every fight, Oliver can focus on his future to one day becoming a professional boxer like his role model Manny Pacquiao. But in the meantime, his next goal is to return back to the Junior Olympics Championship Fight. “The Jr. Olympics has been my greatest accomplishment…only the best of the best fight.” ~Oliver