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SMHS student who is a member of the Youth National Boxing Team back button

A high school senior has returned from the official Olympic Training Center and is ready to hit the books.

Carlos Balderas, who is one of a dozen members of the Youth National Boxing Team, attends Santa Maria High School. His goal is to make the 2016 USA Olympic Boxing Team and travel to Rio de Janeiro.

"I am going to focus on school because education is so important,'' said Balderas, 17. "I was not as serious about my schoolwork as I should have been in the past, but boxing has taught me to be prepared and ready and I plan to apply that to my studies.''

Balderas, 5 foot 8 and 123 pounds, was chosen for the team in January 2014 after winning the Youth World Championship in Reno, NV. His lifetime record is 117 wins and about six losses.

During the summer, Balderas and other nationally recognized boxers spent time fighting internationally. They visited and fought in Russia, Bulgaria, Ecuador and other locations, something this hometown young man found exciting and interesting, especially because he got to see how people in other countries live.

"Honestly, I never thought I would be able to see these places,'' Balderas said. "They are way more crowded than Santa Maria. The food, houses and cars are all different.''

At the Olympic facility in Colorado, Balderas said it was all about two things: Routine and hard work.

"Eat, rest, run, spar, bag work and more ...then repeat,'' Balderas said. "It's like we were on a mission because the competition was at such a high level.''

The young athlete won his first fight at eight years old in Santa Maria, showing boxing was in the family bloodline. Both elders fought in their younger days. With the help of his father, Zenon, uncle Emilano and coach David, he's practicing and training daily at the family's home gym and will be a force to be reckoned with - inside and outside the ring.

"School, family and fighting...is a great life,'' Balderas said.


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