FORT MYERS, Fl. - Lace up the gloves and step into the ring! That's what some local boxers are doing to prepare for the national championship this fall.
These teens are all part of the Fort Myers Police Athletic League's boxing team.
WINK News caught up with the team and found how this program is teaching them more than just how to fight in the ring.
"They come, rain shine, heat whatever, they're here," says Coach Jose Ojeda.
Hardwork and dedication. It's words these boxers probably put into practice more than most people their age.
"I'm here a lot and the conditioning is hard, I'm here six out of the seven days of the week, sometimes seven," says 16-year-old Xavier Saitta.
The Fort Myers Police Athletic League is just one chapter of a national program. Officer John Seay says they work with more than 400 kids each year. Getting them involved in everything from boxing to cheerleading to fishing, but focusing on one main goal.
"These kids are the type of kids that we want to see flourish in the community. That's what it's all about making sure that these kids have the tools they need to survive... we'd rather see them in a boxing ring than out on the streets committing a crime," says Officer John Seay.
"I don't want to be know as the bad guy, I want to be a role model for some kid," says 18-year-old Bruno Bredicean.
Bredicean has been boxing for six years. He got involved with the Fort Myers PAL program not just for the sport but also for the lessons he's learning that go well beyond the ring.
"you need to put in the time, the more time you put in the more results you're going to get... the same with school, the same with wrestling, it's the same with life... you know you're a part of something good," he adds.
Something that's turning these teens into champions.
"It teaches me hard work and you'll get a reward after you do a lot of hard work and dedication if you stick to it," says Benjamin Orozco.
The team held an open house Saturday to show off their skills to the public. Some of the guys involved with the Fort Myers PAL program have already gone pro. It's also home to the number one female boxer in the world, 2012 world gold medalist, Tiara Brown.