By Bryce Owen ’17
There have been great legends in the sport of boxing such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, “Sugar” Ray Robinson and Mike Tyson.
Roberto Peralta ’18 hopes to become one of the next great names on this list.
Peralta started boxing at the age of 13 when he saw a match on TV and told his mom that he had to try it.
Peralta said that he used it as a way to channel his emotions, as he was having anger issues at the time.
He found a local gym and has been practicing and competing in the sport ever since.
“It’s more of a personal sport,” Peralta said. “ You train with other boxers, so there is an aspect of a team, but it is an individual sport, and it makes training more personalized.”
Peralta said boxing is a tenacious sport which requires hours of intense training.
“I go into the gym three to four times a week for two hours, spar for an hour, run three to six miles and work on my upper body,” Peralta said.
Peralta has many fans who cheer him on including his friends, family and Dean Mr. Pat Higgins.
“I originally found out about his passion for boxing through a conversation with Mr. John Damaso ’97,” Mr. Higgins said.
Mr. Damaso said he first learned about Peralta’s hobby when he signed Peralta’s excused absence form.
“I said where are you going, and he said he was going to his first boxing match and that opened up a conversation throughout the year,” Mr. Damaso said.
Mr. Higgins said he was originally concerned for Peralta’s health and who he was fighting.
“As educators, we are trained to be curious about the students that we serve,” he said.
Despite his concerns, he began to take interest in Peralta’s recent boxing matches.
Peralta competed in the 145 lbs division of the Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament this past February.
He fought through all three rounds and successfully defeated his opponent with a unanimous decision from the judges.
Peralta sent an email to the dean after the tournament with a video replay of the fight and told him it was a clean fight and neither he nor his opponent were hurt.
“He is in a stereotypically violent sport, but it has so much weight on technical aspects,” Mr. Damaso said.
Despite boxing being considered a violent sport, Peralta said that violence is not the main objective of the sport.
Mr. Higgins, who watched the recording, said that he enjoyed Peralta’s perseverance and tenacity.
“He is a bulldog and you expect a tall slender boxer to jab, and he just bears down on his opponent and continues to drive into him,” Mr. Higgins said.
“I appreciated the competition and clean aspect of the fight and that each of the fighters were giving their all,” he said.
What started as a glimpse of opportunity has turned into a successful athletic career for Peralta.
“He really is interested as a student of the sport… he is a very attentive and intuitive kind of student,” Mr. Damaso said.
Mr. Higgins said boxing is not just about being an athlete for Peralta.
“He is more than a boxer, he is a great young man and like any sport boxing teaches persistence and determination,” Mr. Higgins said.