For The Madera Tribune
Madera boxer Nathan Salinas came home from the Junior Olympics boxing championships with the gold medal in the 90-pound weight class.
After a three-round bout, local boxer Nathan Salinas now holds the gold medal in the 90-pound weight division.
Salinas traveled to Charleston, West Virginia this past weekend for the Junior Olympics where he faced an opponent who was a little bit bigger and stronger. However, that didn’t stop Salinas from showcasing his talent in the ring.
“He’s an awesome fighter but he wanted it,” Stephanie Salinas, Nathan’s mother said. “He went out there and it was a bigger fight. He was facing a bigger and stronger kid, but he wanted it.
“He (his opponent) was more known than me, but I knew I had to get in there and do something,” Nathan Salnias said. “I just put pressure and beat him.”
“That’s the way he is,” Stephanie said. “He will always rise to the occasion. It’s one of those things where you don’t know how big it is until you see it. You then realize he’s No.1 in the nation. I’m just really proud of him.”
Salinas was one of a larger group of fighters that went along with coach Marcos Padilla. Six went, but only two won a medal.
Salinas, who went to Desmond Middle School and will attend Madera High School in the fall, fights with a group in Fresno called “Dethrone” when he isn’t competing on a stage like the Junior Olympics.
Salinas first got into the sport as a means to get his energy out at the age of 4, but his quick hands and toughness proved to be a perfect combination. Although, watching her son getting hit at such a young age was hard, at first, as he grew into it, it became exciting for Stephanie.
“He was just really energetic at first. The first day into the boxing class, he caught onto it,” She said. “His first coach actually said that my kid had something and he just never stopped.
“Oh, I love it,” Salinas said about her son. “Now that he’s older, I can enjoy it. It’s an art. Watching him is an art. When he was younger, it was harder for me. It’s not easy seeing your little kid get hit, but now that he’s bigger, I like it. I enjoy watching him fight.”
For the 13-year-old Salinas, just competing is the most special.
“I just love going into the ring,” Salinas said. “I always do my best out there. No matter who it is, I want to win. I go out there to win the fight.”
Salinas’ mentality resonates through his training, but more importantly in his fighting.
“When I fight, I’m more aggressive. I like to put pressure on the whole fight and dominate the three rounds — that’s it,” he said.
Aside from training and sparring, Salinas is your typical 13-year-old kid. He loves hanging out with his friends, going to the movies and just being a teenager, even though he will enter his freshman year with a gold medal.
“He’s a really good kid. He doesn’t get in trouble, he doesn’t talk back, he’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Stephanie said.
For Salinas, maybe a stint in wrestling or football could be a goal, but for now, boxing is the main avenue.
As for his future, other than the typical high school experience awaiting him at Madera High, a chance at the Olympics is begging.
“He’ll be right out of high school when the next one rolls around,” Salinas said. “He qualified for the USA team so he’s thinking of getting on that one, too.”
Like his mother, Salinas wants something bigger. He dreams of achieving what many others have not. A chance to prove his worth to himself, but also the community that has an immense tradition in the sport.
“To be part of Madera and accomplish something, something nobody else has done is a good feeling,” he said.