What does it take to become a champion? Talented boxer David ”Junebug” Mijares reminds us of why it is important to have a little fun in life, and in boxing.
“Boxing is in my blood. My great grandfather was the sparring partner of the original Kid Chocolate [Eligio Sardiñas Montalvo, Cuba’s first world boxing champion] in the late '30s. I think he might be inside me, pushing me forward. It is something inside of me that just knows… This is what I was put on this earth to do.
There are three important aspects to boxing: the conditioning part, where you have to train right, eat right, and rest. The second one is discipline. You have to do this every day. You can’t go out with your friends, stay up late, smoke, or drink. You have to keep your eye on the prize. The third thing, and this is the most important one, is to have fun. That has been my biggest challenge so far, keeping myself focused, not losing the fun aspect of boxing. When I forget to have fun, that has been my downfall. My trainer, my father, he pushes me every day. He is relentless – all the exercises he comes up with are hard. I say ‘man, this sucks. It hurts.’ But I have to work through it so I can have fun.
When I reach my full potential, when I get my first belt… I picture that belt hanging around my dad’s neck. That is one of my goals. To have one of those wonderful belts around my dad’s neck. That will be a chapter sealed in my heart.”
Last year, Junebug won his first national title. His next big goal is making the American boxing team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.