Built onto the side of a red-roofed home across from Renton Technical College, you’ll find the Tenochtitlan Boxing Club, home to amateur and professional boxers — and two up-and-coming teens in the boxing world.
One of those teens is Yaretzi Reyes, 14, who is currently the No. 2 boxer in the nation for USA Boxing Girl’s Intermediate in the 114-pound class.
Raised in a family of boxers (her grandfather Lorenzo Reyes and her father Francisco “Paco” Reyes own and operate the boxing club), Yaretzi competed in the USA Boxing National Junior Olympics over the summer, where she won bronze, along with being the only Washingtonian to even place.
“I’m glad I got third place, but I was really wanting first place,” said Yaretzi while taking a small break from one of her daily two-hour training sessions. According to her father, Yaretzi is now in the Youth category, which offers opportunities to train in Colorado and the chance to compete against other countries or even go on to the Olympics.
“I like to fight, to get into the ring and fight,” she said. “I want to become a professional boxer.”
A soft-spoken eighth-grader at Risdon Middle School, Yaretzi started boxing at a very young age.
“I was 4 years old and I’d come outside and hit the bag, mess around,” Yaretzi said. “When I was 5, my dad put me in the ring.”
From there, Yaretzi began her training and her father says that she began to really box when she was 7 or 8 years old. In total, she has been in 15 amateur fights and has only lost four.
“You have to be mentally strong,” Yaretzi said. “You got to have the skills and the technique. If you’re not afraid to take a hit, you know … you’re going to do well.”
Besides boxing, Yaretzi also enjoys the finer things in middle school life — she likes playing around with the soccer ball, sleeping, eating and spending time with her family. And as soon as her training is done for the evening, she retires to the house to do her homework as the other boxers carry on.
One of those boxers is Josue Cadena, 19, who is fresh off a win at the Rip City Fall Classic in Oregon and a win at the War 4 Walla Walla #5 tournament. Cadena is currently an amateur boxer but he hopes to soon turn pro.
“That’s a goal of mine, getting on the U.S. team,” said Cadena.
Both Yaretzi and Cadena are competing at the 2022 USA Boxing National Championships in Lubbock, Texas, this December, where Cadena is expected to transition from an amateur to a professional.
Cadena, who currently live in Auburn, had been boxing off and on before joining Tenochtitlan four years ago.
“I was overweight as a kid and my parents got me into it,” Cadena said with a laugh. “This is what I really want to do and you can’t do it halfway.”
Cadena trains at the boxing club for three hours, five to six days a week. He has won 33 out of 40 fights with four total belts and as Lorenzo says, he has a lot of potential.
“Training doesn’t get easier but you just get through it,” Cadena said. “But if you’re not taking it seriously, you’re gonna embarrass yourself.”
When he isn’t training or traveling for fights, Cadena works in landscaping and in drywall with his brother, but he says he wants to go to Green River College to study either money management or culinary.
“I like to cook and make food,” he said. “It’s interesting. I want to try to make new food.”
The Tenochtitlan Boxing Club was founded in 2006, though owners Lorenzo and Paco’s careers in boxing go back even further. Lorenzo began his boxing career in Mexico City and had been in 50 amateur fights and 10 professional fights.
After the Reyes family moved to the United States in the early 90s, Paco took an interest in the family sport and began fighting as an amateur boxer at the age of 14. After turning pro at 19, Paco had 11 fights.
He and his father now dedicate their time to training boxers, from young kids who are just learning coordination to adult professionals.
“On weekends, I work with kids that are younger than 6 and 7 and on weekdays, work with kids that are 8 and older,” Paco said.
The Tenochtitlan Boxing Club may be situated in Renton but the club has had members from far and wide.
Paco said that they even had a kid whose mom would drive him to the club every day from Bellingham, a commute that can go over two hours one way.
From the boxing club website, it says that Paco’s main goal in life is to help keep kids off of the street and “have them become the best they can be in and out of the ring.”