Marques Tovar may be small, but his punch packs some power.
The 12-year-old Turlock resident and soon-to-be Dutcher Middle School Diamondback put on a show at the National Junior Olympics in Lubbock, Texas last weekend, going 2-0 to take home first place in the 70-pound weight class of the Intermediate Male division. Following the win, Tovar is now ranked No. 1 in the nation in his respective division and weight.
“I was really happy because I've always wanted to be ranked and win a big tournament like that,” Tovar said of his win.
He first began boxing when he was just eight years old, inspired by boxing roots that run deep in his family. His older sister, Turlock High School grad Sandra Tovar, is a five-time national champion herself.
“When I was little, I would always see her training and knowing that I'm a national champion now is really cool to think about,” he said.
On July 16, Tovar took down Izmael Ramos of Stockton via a split decision in his first fight. The next day, he defeated David Renteria of Houston, Texas to earn the tournament win. It was just the second tournament of Tovar’s career and he now holds a 13-1 overall record.
In between preparation for his fast-approaching seventh grade year, Tovar took part in two-a-days at the gym to make sure he was ready for the national tournament and sparred with his fellow boxing teammates. His first win was easier than the second, he said, as he had fought Ramos before and knew his boxing style. Renteria was a brand-new opponent, but Tovar still pulled out the victory with a second split decision.
Tovar hopes to eventually become an Olympic or professional boxer and believes his future is bright.
“Me being 12 years old and knowing that I'm already a national champion is so cool,” Tovar said. “It shows that my young age doesn’t matter.”