Monday, May 1, 2017

Overcoming Failure

Thanks to boxer/scholar Ethan Munoz for this excellent essay, which won him scholarship money for college.



Overcoming Failure

“And your winner by split decision is…..coming out of the blue corner!” 

I stood in the ring, in front of an audience of around 75 people, my red tank top drenched in sweat, my head bowed in disappointment, and my body slouched from exhaustion. The words pierced through me like a sword. I had lost. But how? I’d been running, sparring, and spending countless hours in the gym. I threw a million punches, and in the last round I dished out a right hand so hard that the referee gave my opponent a standing eight count. But somehow, I lost. After receiving a mediocre bronze medal, I made my way to the locker room where my twin brother rushed in after me and stared at me for a few seconds. We both balled up in tears. Despite the fact that I was the one who actually fought, the pain was mutual. It was my first fight, and I lost.

The pain from losing wore off right away. After all, it's all just a learning experience, right? Plus it was only my first fight, in which I actually did exceptionally well, considering it was my opponent’s twelfth bout. In fact, several spectators from the audience told me that they believed that I should have won. My father told me not to worry because you can’t win all the time. Losing that fight gave me a surge of motivation that caused me to work even harder. 

I lived in the gym after that fight. Every single day I spent at least two hours working hard, sweating to the point that I could barely keep my eyes open because the blinding sweat would trickle into my eyes. I ran like a horse in the park at least three miles every other day. I hated running in the winter, because the thin air made me feel like an elephant was sitting down on my chest every time I breathed. However, I had to keep my speed up or I would freeze. I sparred several rounds a week, and sometimes I would leave the ring with a bloody nose, a bruised limb or a scratched-up back. My body was crying. I had heard about stabbings and rapes that occurred in the park I ran in, and my family members warned me to be careful because strange people roam the park at night. However, I still continued to run in the park daily with nothing but one thing on my mind: victory. After about two weeks, I walked into the gym and my trainer shocked me with a last minute offer, “Hey Ethan, do you want to fight this Friday!?”

My heart sank to the bottom of my stomach. Was I ready to fight again... Already? On such short notice?

“Yes!” I excitedly agreed. 

Before I knew it, it was Friday night and I was in the ring once again. The bell rang, and the war began. This time I threw what felt like a billion punches, and I rushed my opponent like a football player. I can’t remember what my opponent did, but it was clearly ineffective. The adrenaline was speeding through my veins like cars on a highway. After the fight was finally over, I hugged my opponent out of respect and bowed my head while standing in the middle of the ring. Than I heard it:

“Your winner is…coming out of the red corner from Atlas Cops and Kids Boxing Gym!”


The referee raised my hand as I leaped for joy. I had failed in my first fight because I wasn’t working hard enough. Through this, I realized that victory comes only through diligence.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Never Be Mine by Maverick Deen



This is the first rap song from boxer Muhammad Deen, 17, a student at Victory Collegiate High School. We think Deen has a bright future, whether he chooses to pursue fighting, writing, or music!



Deen writes:

During the course of life, some discover the key to unlock their talent. This talent isn't specific to a skill. Rather, it's a natural part of your personality that allows you to excel at certain things.

I, Muhammad Deen, had a talent for poetry, so it was evident that rap (rhythm and poetry) and boxing, often referred as "poetry in motion," would be my love in life. Talent for poetry isn't just about writing; it's about seeing the poetic elements in everything in life.

Being Pakistani with Indian roots, my cultural music was an integral part of me. Growing up, I listened to various Pakistani and Indian artists, while my western musical influences included Eminem, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Nirvana, Nas, Tupac, Immortal Technique, Prince and Linkin Park.

Seeing every genre as a different color, allowing my words to be different brushes, I made my first song, "Never Be Mine," about unrequited love. I incorporated hip hop, rock and blues with a live instrumentation.

Photo: Richard Wade
With boxing, the canvas parallel exists, with different punches, feints, angles and other things creating a painting. Boxing is misconstrued to be a violent and barbaric sport. However, it is only a reflection of who we are. The decisions you make during a fight show how you react in life. With poetry being in my soul, of course the love for music and boxing is in me too.