Click here to see full-screen photo slideshow. Photos courtesy of Garcia Boxing Academy.
By Mariana Llamas-Cendon / Amigos805.com
At 24 years of age, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios is a professional in the boxing ring. As an amateur fighter Rios had won the Silver Gloves, the Ringside Nationals, the USA Nationals, and was chosen as an alternate for the Olympics in 2004.
As a pro, he had won against the Hawaiian Manuel “Hands of Death” (Manos de la Muerte) Perez and the newyorican Jorge Teron, in 2009; also against Anthony Peterson in a WBA title eliminator on a HBO Boxing After Dark card in Las Vegas, Nevada, and against Omri Lowther during a HBO PPV fight that took place in Cowboys Stadium in Texas, in 2010. Last February, he defeated WBA World Lightweight Champion, Venezuelan Miguel Acosta.
Rios is considered a “rising star” for specialized media, and has signed by Top Rank promotions, the company that signed Muhammed Ali and currently, Manny Paquiao. So Rios’ future is looking quite bright, even though it wasn’t like this during his teenager years, when he was still living in Garden City, Kansas, and apparently he couldn’t stay out of trouble.
According to Maxboxing.com, Rios’ manager Cameron Dunkin stated that there were times when rios didn’t want to settle in Oxnard and that worried him.
“Oh, gosh, he was just constantly in trouble and we just hoped something bad didn’t happen and he wouldn’t come back and there were times when he wanted to go back there and live, didn’t want to stay out in Oxnard and he wasn’t focused at all,” said Dunkin to Maxboxing.com.
“Hometown, like I said; I was a dumb, immature kid and everything. And that’s where everything started. Hanging around the wrong people, doing the wrong things in Garden City. That’s when I moved over here permanently now. When I go back now, I go back for a week or two. I won’t go back any longer because any longer, you never know what might happen,” Rios told Maxboxing.com.
After settling down in Oxnard, Brandon’s life definitely made a 360 degree turn; he was married last year to Victoria Lopez, and has a 4-month-old baby.
“I met my wife in Oxnard. I have been married for almost a year, I got married before the Petersen fight in Las Vegas,” Rios said.
A role model is born
Rios was born in Lubbock, Texas, in 1986, but moved at the age of two with his father, an employee at a slaughterhouse, his mother, three sisters and a brother, to Garden City, in Kansas, where he remained until meeting his current trainer Robert Garcia from Oxnard’s Garcia Boxing Academy. He was only 18 and didn’t know anyone in Ventura County.
“I met Robert in the 2004 Olympic trial in Mississippi, and he asked me if I wanted to go,” Brandon recalled.
At Garcia’s academy it was where Brandon’s nickname was forged. According to Rios’s biography on Top Rank’s website: “My coach, Robert Garcia, and Dr. Anderson, they’re the ones that gave it to me. After I had a couple of pro fights, they told me, ‘You need a name,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know one.’ So they were watching me fight, and that’s all it took — two punches and I dropped the guy — and they were like, ‘Look – bam, bam. Let’s call him Bam Bam.’””
Brandon isn’t a newbie at punches, has been fighting since he was only 8 years old. In fact, as an amateur he participated in around 400 fights from which he won more than 300. But since Robert Garcia took upon the responsibility of training Rios he scaled up to pro category.
“When I met Robert I starting turning pro and trained for pro,” said Rios, who sees a big difference between being amateur and professional: “As an amateur you’re speedier, and throw a bunch of punches”.
His current plans are “be the best, hopefully in the future I’ll get a shot fighting Roman Martinez,” said Rios, who has a special admiration for the old school fighters such as Julio Cesar Chavez and Diego Corrales.
“I admire the fact that they go onto the ring and they leave everything on it, they don’t take anything on,” Brandon said.
He also has plans for his personal life.
“Hopefully soon buy a house. Hopefully after my next fight or so we can get a house and live life like a normal person, and be happy and everything,” Rios said.
The fact that “Bam Bam” Rios was able to turn his life around despite the troubles he had in his younger years, makes him a role model in the eyes of many people. At this respect he has something to say to those following on his steps.
“If they have a dream and they want to do something with their lives, just do it, you can make your dreams come true,” he said. “If you want to be a mechanic, a doctor, lawyer, or boxer, stick to your dream and follow it and it will come true.”
Also he was thankful for the support received from his followers, and the team that works hard along with him, but especially to his wife.
“I love her,” Rios said.
Brandon pointed out that his next fight will take place in Carlson, but details are to be defined yet. So stay tuned.