Katlyn Robledo,12, is in her second year of boxing and, just like the pros in the ring, trains five days per week.
“When I was a little girl, I always used to watch boxing and then I kind of just got into it,” Robledo said.
Any given day of the week, boxers of all ages arrive after school to punch the heavy bags, work the speed bags, and do sit ups at Ramos’ Boxing Gym on the South Side of San Antonio. The youngest of the male and female athletes are getting ready to compete later this month in a premier amateur boxing event.
Head coach, Arturo Ramos III, trains fighters six days per week, currently working with 15 boxers between the ages of 8 to 15 years old to compete in the USA Boxing South Texas Junior Olympic Tournament on April 22 in Laredo.
Katlyn’s mother, Stephanie Robledo, agreed to bring Katlyn to the gym when her friends started to attend Ramos’ gym for amateur training camps. Her friends stopped attending, but she didn’t.
“The best part about boxing is when you get in the ring, all the attention is on you,” Katlyn said. “It’s fun, but you also have to work hard while doing it.”
On a recent afternoon, boxers sweat through five-minute intervals of shadow boxing as the yells of coaches bounce off the metal walls.
“I love how the community is here and how everyone treats me fairly,” said Jason Sanchez, 12. “I like how we both go at it and no matter what, no one’s gonna win but we know we tried our best.”
Sanchez said he’s excited to compete in Laredo later this month. “It’s one of those nervous things, but [I] know it’s going to be exciting. We come every day until Saturday, and then Sunday we get a break.”
“We prepare our boxers very well. One of the things that we are known for [is] our boxers are well conditioned,” said Ramos III. “We’re one of the few gyms that start training camps for amateur boxing tournaments.”
Ramos’ rules are strict during these training camp periods and does not allow boxers to miss more than three days of practice. “We have a different set of goals for these kids,” said Ramos III. “Those who make it, make the team and those who don’t, we have to cut them.”
Of the 15 boxers includes Ramos’ very own 12-year-old son, Arturo Ramos IV.
With a tough loss in 2015 during the Golden Gloves Finals, Arturo IV’s past failures serve as motivation and lessons that he believes will make him a better boxer.
“[Boxing is] not about being in shape or looking good,” the younger Arturo said. “It teaches you discipline and respect.”
With the importance of carrying his family’s name, 12-year old Arturo plans to continue the tradition.
“My dad and grandpa boxed and I just felt like I needed to keep it going,” he said.
Ramos III along with his father, Arturo Ramos Jr., and his brothers Hector and Mike help contribute with the family gym.
When Ramos III turned pro in 1995, he signed a contract with Bob Arum, that allowed him to buy property and a home for his family and himself. This home now shares the acreage with RBT.
“This was a personal gym. I wanted my own boxing gym, just me and my brothers,” said Arturo Ramos III. “Little by little, my brother’s friends started coming and by the time you knew it we were expanding, and I accidently became a boxer to a coach.”
The role of a boxer and head coach come naturally for Arturo and his brother from observing their father, Arturo Jr. He started boxing at the age of 8 in Laredo and continued coaching at several gyms after he arrived in San Antonio with his family in the early 70’s. Soon the sport also grabbed the attention of little Arturo III.
“Our training techniques started in the 70s when my father was training and coaching,” said Arturo III. “Little by little I started training and by the time you knew it, I had my first fight in Robstown in 1987. So my career started in 1987 in Robstown and my last amateur fight was in Berlin, Germany in 1995.”
Arturo Ramos III held an impressive amateur career with an 112-17 record, a member of the U.S national select team from 1990-95 and competing with the U.S team in the ’95 World Championships in Germany. He finished with a 10-1-2 record with six knockouts as a five-year pro before retiring in 1999. These days, Arturo is preparing the next group of up and coming boxers in the area and readying them for the Junior Olympic trials.
Families who’ve come into contact with Ramos III, say his influence has had a huge impact on their children.
The Tellez family, for example, originally met Arturo in Florida and asked if he would train their oldest daughter, Reina. At the time, they commuted 300 miles each way from the small town of Viera, Florida to Tampa. Before long, Arturo accepted them into his home to eliminate the commute and assist Reina and her family in their pursuit of a national title.
When Arturo’s father asked him to make San Antonio home again in hopes of developing Ramos Boxing Team, the Tellez family followed suit.
“We’re a thousand miles away from home for Arturo and RBT,” said Shalana Tellez, Reina’s mother. “This is where she wants to be, so this is where we are.”
Reina attends the gym six days a week for up to two hours of training that consists of shadow boxing, running, bag drills and sparring. Her younger sister, Gabriella Tellez, also attends and trains right beside her.
The tournament begins in Laredo with the winners advancing to the state tournament, then to the national tournament, held in Dallas this year.
As for what are the plans for the gym, Arturo Jr has envisioned one day opening a community center on the South Side and offering these services free to everyone.
“I’m making plans to buy the property behind me because I want to put a community center in the South Side,” said Arturo Jr. “It takes a lot of money, a lot of work, but we’re gonna get there someday.”