Story and Photos by Herman Delgado
It’s approximately 6,117 miles from the Marcos B. Armijo Community Center in El Segundo Barrio in El Paso, Texas to Tokyo, Japan, where the 2020 Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place beginning on July 24, 2020. Jorge Tovar has been preparing all his life for this moment, and he plans to take that first step next month, as he will be competing at the 2018 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships-Junior and Prep Open at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, beginning on December 2, through December 8, 2018. The winner and runner-up in this tournament advance to the Olympic Training Center, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and will continue competing as members of the USA Boxing Team in international competition in order to earn a spot in the 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials…to see who will represent the United States in the quest for the gold.
Tovar will be competing in the 165-pound division, where he is currently ranked in the top 10 of the USA Boxing rankings in two separate divisions, 165 and 178 pounds. Tovar has 42 amateur fights, sporting a 38-4 record, and was the 2017 Texas State Golden Gloves Champion at 165 pounds. He passed up this year’s El Paso Golden Gloves tournament, in order to compete in a national tournament that would help him advance and move up in the national rankings and give himself a better shot at a spot on the USA Boxing Team. You don’t see Tovar competing in many local events or tournaments around El Paso, not because he doesn’t want to fight or lack of interest, but simply because no one wants to fight him. The level of competition in this area is nowhere to be found.
Depending on the outcome in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 20-year old Tovar plans to make this his last year of competing in the amateur ranks. His trainer and father, Jorge Tovar Sr., have lined up some good connections and management to take them to the next level in Tovar’s boxing career. Tovar has been putting in the hard work, numerous miles of road work, rigorous training, and most importantly…he has the discipline that this brutal sport demands. Tovar graduated from El Paso Academy in 2016, in order to complete his high school education ahead of schedule and continue his training regimen in pursuit of making the USA Boxing Team. “I’m fighting for El Paso, and I want to be El Paso’s first world champion!” Tovar said. “I’m very thankful for all the support from my hometown and I’m going to put El Paso on the map!” When Tovar is not at the gym training, he puts in a full-time work schedule for his father’s company, G.T. Construction. Not only is Tovar Sr., his boss, he’s the man waiting for him in the corner after every round. “I look at my son as a fighter…I have more emotion, he’s my son…my blood,” Tovar Sr., said.
Tovar decided to take up the sport of boxing at the age of 8, because he was a bit overweight and decided boxing would help him lose the weight. In September 2013, while watching the Bryan Vera versus Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., episode of HBO’s 24/7, he decided that he was going to focus on boxing and turn an exercise program into a more serious thing in his life. The Tovar’s took their training to another level and they have not looked back. Naylea Ledezma, a 17-year old female amateur boxer with a 19-5 record, who has won regional Golden Gloves titles in the Junior Olympic division in 2015 and 2016, sits next to the ring adjusting her hand wraps, gives me a smile, and said, “He’s the reason I started boxing…he’s good!”