Olympic Boxer Inspires Kranz Students

2012 Olympic Boxer Shares His Story and Inspires Kranz Intermediate Students
2012 Olympic Boxer, Joseph Diaz, Jr. Diaz2012 Olympic Boxer, Joseph Diaz, Jr. Diaz

El Monte, CA–Kranz Intermediate School was proud to welcome back former student and 2012 Olympic Boxer, Joseph Diaz, Jr. Diaz attended Kranz from 2004 to 2006 and is currently training for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The former Kranz Cougar started boxing at the Youth Boxing Club in South El Monte when he was 11 and proved to have a heart of a champion. He began competing at the national level at the age of 13 and at 14 he won the 2007 National Silver Glove Championship in Kansas City, Missouri. Diaz continued to train and work hard at his dream of being a successful boxer. He moved up into the Men’s Division for 17 to 34 year olds and won the 2010 National Title in that division, earning a number one ranking. As part of the USA National Boxing Team the young athlete has traveled to Rome, Nicaragua and England representing the United States. His success continued in 2011 when he again won the Men’s National Title. At the Olympic trials, the left-handed, 123 pounder swept his bracket, becoming the Olympic Trails Champion. His final competition to reach the Olympics was the World Tournament where he had to place at least 10thin his weight class to qualify for the Olympics. Joseph placed 5thand was thrilled to be named an Olympic athlete.

“I’m very excited to go to the Olympics,” said Diaz. “I’ve worked really hard to make my dream come true and it’s going to be great competing against the best boxers in the world. I was told that I was too small and wouldn’t make it as a boxer and those doubts motivated me to work harder and made me want it even more. Whatever you want to do you can do it! Don’t let anyone stop you. You can do whatever you want in life if you put the effort in,” he said.

Diaz wanted to succeed in boxing because he wanted to help his parents financially. He wanted to turn professional so he could make money but his father encouraged him to wait and go to the Olympics first, a decision he’s glad he made.

“As a former Kranz student Joseph was where you are a few years ago,” said Kranz principal, Ray Andry addressing the crowd of students. “And, with a lot of hard work look where he is now. He has been able to travel the world, is an elite boxer and two-time U.S. National Champion headed to the Olympics. We are so proud of him and we can’t wait to watch him in the 2012 Olympic Games.”

Diaz encouraged the students to stay focused on their school work and stay true to their dreams. 

“It’s not easy and it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice but it’s worth it,” said Diaz. “When I was at Kranz I went to the gym each day but I also did all of my homework every day too. I stayed away from bad behavior and bad friends and that helped me get to where I am today. I was also a good student with a 4.0 GPA in 7thgrade and a 3.8 GPA in 8thgrade.”

As he gears up for the London Games, Diaz’s typical day is to wake up and run four to six miles, eat a good breakfast, train for two hours in the gym and then he goes home reads a book and goes to bed. He also attends church weekly and thanks God for the blessings in his life.

“I have to take care of myself and eat right, exercise and get my sleep. It’s definitely a sacrifice because I can’t really stay out late or eat a lot of junk food, but it’s what I need to do to achieve my dreams so I do it.”

The captivated students can’t wait to watch their new favorite boxer in action and will be cheering for him as he takes on the world, representing the USA, California, El Monte and Kranz at the Olympics.

“It was awesome that he came to talk to us,” said Manuel Chaidez, 7thgrader. “I’d like to start boxing and I’m looking forward to following his career and watching him in the Olympics.”

 “Boxing is cool, I like to watch it on TV and I think Joseph has a good shot in the Olympics. He’s a great boxer. It’s cool that he is a former Kranz student,” said Juan Torres, 7thgrader.


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