Boxing coach finds success after being knocked down

DELAND, Fla .– Boxing can be tough training, but it also teaches many things, including how to overcome obstacles and overcome adversity. A boxing trainer and his best student at DeLand are now enjoying success, having been knocked down.

What would you like to know

  • When the pandemic hit, boxing trainer Luis Rodriguez had to start training clients away from his home
  • There he met 15-year-old Marie-Angelis Rosendo and started training her
  • She is now ranked third in the country and Rodriguez has since opened her own gym, Lou’s Community Boxing.

A new year means another chance for Luis Rodriguez to welcome new boxers through his doors to Lou’s Community Boxing.

“It really trains the character the way it should be,” he said. “How you take wins and how you take losses. It’s attitude, you know attitude is everything.

The boxing coach trained at another gym before the pandemic, but in March 2020 that all changed.

“It was a scary time, but you know God is good,” Rodriguez said. “The clients started reaching out to me, and they asked me what I was doing and I said I would train you away from home.”

While training in her garden, Marie-Angelis Rosendo anxiously sought to engage in sport.

“I begged them for about a year,” she said. “They weren’t necessarily thinking, ‘Oh, my only daughter, she wants to be punched in the face.'”

Marie and her family met Rodriguez at church. The Rosendos gave their blessing for her to train, and Marie appreciates how her classes have started.

“Just very humble and you start from nothing and you build your way,” she said. “So that when you are at the top, you never forget where you came from and where you started from.”

After a while, Rodriguez’s pastor of the Vivid Life Church approached him asking him to turn his backyard teachings into something more.

“You have clients from five to 70 years old, so you need a gym and I didn’t want a gym, but he says to me ‘Shut up, that’s part of your calling'” , said Rodriguez. “The community, that’s why it’s Lou’s Community Boxing, the people they just started giving.”

Lou’s Community Boxing opened in DeLand six months ago. For Marie, sport and this space allow her to get away from it all.

“I say it saved my life because it kind of gave me a reason to live,” she said.

Marie trains about 18 hours a week and says boxing is the perfect metaphor for life.

“Life throws a lot of things at you and with boxing you have to be strong, not just physically but also mentally,” she said.

In a year and a half, she has come a long way. The 15-year-old is a state and regional champion, won junior Olympic bronze and is ranked third in the country. These accomplishments helped her regain self-confidence.

“It had a big impact on the way I saw myself and the way I look at everything around me,” said Marie. “It is thanks to God and to the people that he has put around me.”

Marie hopes to go to the 2024 Olympics and then turn professional.

“My goal is to become a world champion one day,” she said. “That’s why I work every day and I will continue to work. And even when I have my dream, I will continue to work.

Marie will compete in the regional silver gloves this weekend and for Rodriguez, he said she perfectly embodies what he hopes his gym will become in the future.

“Obviously get in good shape and lose weight and all that stuff, but this place is more than that,” he said. “This place is more than that. You can grow mentally, physically and spiritually.