At the corner of 17th and Cotton in Reading, Pennsylvania, there stands an old t-shirt factory building turned boxing gym. David Stevens, 17, and Xavian Ramirez, 16, two of the nation’s top amateurs boxers, call this home. David and Xavian have been members of the East Reading Boxing Club since they were children. After years of competing in tournaments across the country, both David and Xavian are regarded as two of the best boxers in their respective weight classes.
In June 2017, both David and Xaivan competed in the USA Boxing Youth Open Championship in Charleston, West Virginia. Both David and Xavian won their respective divisions, earning an invitation to the USA Boxing Youth National Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Youth National Championship serves as the Youth Olympic Games Team Trial. At the culmination of the tournament, the champion boxer in each division is invited to join the Team USA Youth National Team, and train at the Team USA Training Complex in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This tournament is not just about future boxing careers, it is an opportunity to change lives. For these two young men, this would be a chance to leave one of the poorest cities in the nation and open doors to a new life.
Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 – 20 Days til Salt Lake City
Xavian takes part in a sparring match while David works on pad drills.
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 – 19 Days til Salt Lake City
Xavian and David have an off day from the boxing ring, but still have eight rounds with a medicine ball.
Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 – 16 Days til Salt Lake City
David spars with a professional boxer, while Xavian works on mobility drills during his night off.
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 – 12 Days til Salt Lake City
Looking forward to a Thanksgiving meal, David and Xavian check their weight during an evening off training.
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 – 4 Days til Salt Lake City
Midway through the final week of preparation, both David and Xavian shadow box and mentally prepare before departing for Utah.