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Mexican Juan Hernández, from humble churrero to world boxing champion

Mexican Juan Hernández, from humble churrero to world boxing champion

“If you want something in life, with work you will achieve what you want” was the phrase that Juan “Churritos” Hernández, recent world flyweight champion of the World Boxing Council (WBC), heard from his father when, of As a child, he dreamed of succeeding in the ring while selling churros.
Juan’s father, of the same name, came from Veracruz to the outskirts of Mexico City and there he developed his trade as a producer and seller of these delicious and popular products.
The company required the energy of his four children, among them Juan, who from the age of seven sold what his father prepared.
“We learned the trade and it was what supported the family,” Hernández said in an interview with Efe after one of his trainings in the populous capital city of Ecatepec, where he lives.
The shortcomings of the family finances forced Juan to abandon his school education in the third year of primary school.
“I liked school and it was diligent, but the lack of financial resources forced my father to make a decision: ‘I need you to learn to read and add and subtract to handle money’ and let’s go, go to work,” he said. He said.
Although Juan and his brothers helped their father, and little by little they got ahead, it was also true that the father realized that they had too much free time and required them to practice a sport to avoid bad influences.
“He didn’t want us to waste time with bad friends,” said Juan, whom his father took to the Latin American gym, which is located in the La Merced neighborhood, in the Historic Center of the Mexican capital.
“My dad took us to wrestling – he was a fan of that sport – but the truth was not my thing, I was training for a month, but next to it they practiced boxing and I liked it more,” he says.
The beginnings were not easy. “I started as an amateur and in the first fight they gave me a beating and I didn’t even know why I came back,” he says.
Hernandez, 30, started boxing at 13 and made his professional debut four years later on March 25, 2004.
In his first seven bouts he came out with his hand up. “That’s when I realized that boxing was my thing,” he confessed to Efe.
Although he was already a professional, the money that Hernández earned from his fights was still not enough and he combined his discipline with the trade he inherited from his father and even arrived with the basket of churros at the gym.
He trained from morning until after noon and sold churros in the afternoon and evening in the Zócalo in Mexico City.
Like the trade of boxer, that of churrero also requires patience because the sale is not always good.
Although, after his victorious start in boxing, came his first defeat, he rebuilt the road until adding another 11 triumphs that brought him closer to his first opportunity to dispute the world title of the minimum weight of the World Boxing Council (WBC) against the Japanese Kazuto Ioka.
It was on August 10, 2011 in Tokyo and he lost by unanimous decision in 12 rounds.
The defeat made him an undisciplined fighter with weight, he consumed soft drinks and overindulged with Mexican snacks, his weaknesses, but he reacted on time.
He put himself on a rigorous diet and hit 50,802 kilograms (112 pounds), the division limit.
“I lost and I thought that I would never get a second chance, but we broke rocks – he tied 15 wins – until we won the chance again,” he explains.
Hernández knew that, six years after his first attempt, that second opportunity could not be missed, even though some described him as a “finished, old and in the last” boxer.
«I matured, I concentrated and I was sure of what I wanted and what I yearned for since I was 13 years old; I said ‘I have a dream and I have to fulfill it: to be world champion’, and I fulfilled it, “he reveals.
At the end of 2016, Juan received the notice that he could contest for the second time the world title, now flyweight, when he was selling churros.
He stopped doing it to focus fully on the fight against the Thai Nawaphon Kaikanha, whom he knocked out in three rounds in Bangkok on March 4.
Of simple character, the «Churritos» travels the streets of Ecatepec like a true stranger.
A follower of Filipino Manny Pacquiao, he says he knows how to handle fame because he takes his achievements as “something normal”, a simple consequence of his 17-year sacrifices.
With 34 wins, 25 before the end, and two losses, Juan wants to defend his title as many times as possible and in the future open a churros business, a field where he handles himself as well as on the ring, because he knows perfectly the way to move between flour, oil, sugar and saucepans.

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