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23-year-old Anthony Soto has been boxing in his backyard in Pueblo since he was seven and he says the sport is a lifestyle.
"It's a love-hate thing, you learn that fast," Soto laughed. "It's a lot of physical work, but I love that physical work, it's a one-on-one thing and you don't have to depend on nobody but yourself."
Anthony's stepfather, Gil Trujillo started "Tru Boxing" out of his garage in 2008. It has since grown into a space that many consider to be their second home.
"A lot of times they don't come from their parents, their grandparents are raising them," Trujillo explained. "So we try to make this as hard, but it's also home."
Trujillo says boxing helps build character through discipline and respect.
"I see these kids walk in for the first time with their head down but as they start to grow, you see their heads up, they're positive and they're motivated, so that's what I love about what I'm doing," Trujillo smiled.
Since turning pro three years ago, Anthony has a winning record in the ring (6-0-1) and he is prepping for his 8th fight this Saturday.
"I want to be the World Champ, I want to be the best," Soto said. "You have to build your fan base, you have to get better and you do that through each fight."
Aside from boxing, Anthony is passionate about using his platform to help others. This past school year he visited his alma mater, Centennial High School, and shared the importance of mental health and having a goal to work towards.
"I talked about my life and everything I went through emotionally and physically, and how it's good to have a goal and set your sights high," Soto said. "I let them know that there's better out there, you can be happy and if you need someone to look up to, I'm here."
Anthony says several kids joined the Tru Boxing gym after he spoke to them and he hopes to visit more schools in Southern Colorado this Fall.
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