Garden City boxer to join Team USA

Efrain Sanchez learned to love boxing by watching his older brothers.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — A Garden City boxer is making his family and hometown proud. His strong showing at nationals earlier this month means big opportunities are around the corner.

“Probably be a world champion in boxing,” said Efrain Sanchez, “that’d probably be my main goal after I turn pro.”

The 20-year-old placed second at the boxing national championship two weeks ago. He returned to boxing just 13 months ago after a five-year break.

“It felt pretty good just to be back in the ring and fighting in a big tournament like that,” he said. “Fighting just the guy that I fought, he was pretty good, it was a good match. It didn’t go the way I wanted, but it’s all good.”

It means he’ll join Team USA to train in Colorado Springs in January before heading to compete in Strandja, a top international amateur boxing tournament in Bulgaria this February.

“My mom’s pretty happy. She’s excited. We’ve been through a lot in my family, so everybody’s pretty happy, like my brothers and my sisters.”

Sanchez was raised by a single mom and fell in love with boxing as a kid by watching his older brothers practice he started training when he was seven.

“Everybody in my family boxed,” he said. “My brothers boxed, and I would just come to the gym with my brothers.”

He says they never made it as far as he did, saying they’re jealous but proud of their little brother’s accomplishments.

“It’s pretty much what I do to have a better future and support my family.”

This year was his first time competing without headgear, which he says was part of the reason he didn’t win, but he’ll be used to it by next year.

“I’ll be focused, I’ll be training all year. I don’t think anyone should be able to beat me.”

If Sanchez does win a national championship next year, he’ll get to try out for the US Olympic team.