Logansport boxer Barahona gears for National Golden Gloves

May 8—Luis Barahona has come a long ways in a short amount of time in the sport of boxing.

Just three years ago he was a 300-pound 16-year-old who wandered into Moreno Boxing Club on Erie Avenue in downtown Logansport looking to learn the sport.

He's now a state champion who is going to compete on a national level.

Barahona won a state championship in the 203-pound weight division April 25 at the Indiana Golden Gloves at Tyndall Armory in Indianapolis. He will compete with the Indiana Boxing Team at the National Golden Gloves which will be held May 13-18 in Detroit, Michigan.

"When he first got to the gym, I'll be honest, I always tell him I thought he was only going to be here for a couple weeks," said Luis Moreno, who is Barahona's trainer. "Because he was a big, chunky guy and I didn't think this was going to be the sport for him. But he stuck to it. Boxing is the hardest sport out there. Boxing is one you have to come and train Monday through Friday and possibly Saturday too. You also have to have a lifetstyle outside the gym: eat good, sleep good, don't party that much. Boxing is a serious thing. You can play soccer, baseball, whatever, but you don't play boxing. Once you get up there it's just you and the other guy. So as a coach when he first started I didn't really believe that he was going to stay here.

"But now three years later he's still here. He was almost 300 pounds when he got here. Now he's fighting in the 203 weight division, but he actually always fights around 189. So he dropped 100 pounds to be able to fight in the Golden Gloves."

Barahona was born and raised in Logansport. The 19-year-old has embraced the blue-collar nature of boxing.

He works third shift at S.U.S. Cast Products in Logansport, so he sleeps during the day and trains in the evening at Moreno Boxing Club before he heads to work at night.

"At Golden Gloves after the fight I actually came home and went straight to work," he said.

He credits Moreno for helping his fast ascent in the sport.

"He's a great coach. I think in my opinion he's the best in Indiana," he said. "He's real good, real calm. He took a lot of work to get me to where I am today.

"I was a real big, heavy guy, real slow. I didn't have no footwork, no nothing. He took me from the ground up and got me here to where I am today. A lot of credit goes to him."

Moreno's club is currently the only boxing club in town.

"We've got a good facility, a good team," Barahona said. "We've got another assistant coach too, Saul, he helps a lot. A lot of kids here too, it's great for the kids."

Barahona had two win two matches to win his state title in Indianapolis. He was supposed to fight three but one of his opponents didn't make weight.

He won his first fight by split decision and his second by unanimous decision.

"The first one was a little tough," he said. "I think the second one was pretty good. I locked him down. I don't think he could handle my speed, I think that's really what it was. I was too fast for him.

"I feel like I knew I was going to win. I put a lot of hard work into it. I've been training here for awhile. I feel pretty good."

Barahona talked about his strengths in the ring.

"Mostly my footwork. I move real good on my feet. I'm real fast," he said. "I'm not really a knockout puncher. I've got respectable power but it's mostly my handspeed and my feet. I move around real good. A lot of these big guys can't keep up with me. My cardio too, I've got real good cardio. I can go for three rounds, fight hard for three rounds."

Barahona is interested in eventually becoming a professional boxer.

"Hopefully. That's the plan," he said. "Right now go to Nationals, the plan is to win but we'll see how we do there. There's a lot of tough competition. That's pretty much it. Just keep going forward, just keep growing as a fighter, as an individual and see where it takes us.

"We'll see what we look like in a couple years. Go to Nationals and see how we do there."