Local boxer Santiago Veloz has been chosen to represent USA Boxing in China later this month to help promote the sport leading up to Zou Shiming’s WBO flightweight title defense in Shanghai.
Veloz, 12, of Atwater will be in China July 21-29.
“I was so happy when we heard,” said his father Refugio Veloz. “I understand he’s young to go there, but it’s a good opportunity for him to study boxing.”
Veloz was one of three youth boxers chosen to make the trip. According to Martha Shen-Urquidez, who serves on the California State Athletic Commission and is making the trip, the Chinese government is working with USA Boxing to put on exhibitions for the public to promote the sport, building up to Shiming’s title fight on July 28 against Japan’s Sho Kimura in Shanghai. Shiming is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner.
Veloz will get to attend the fight.
“The Chinese government is backing Shiming and they are trying to promote health, fitness, recreation and rehabilitation to the Chinese public,” Shen-Urquidez said. “They are paying for three American boxers, children of a various levels of expertise, 12-and-under and 13-and-under, to come over and come up on stage to shadow box and hit the mitts a bit.”
Veloz has been training with the Haro Brothers Boxing Club in Merced for just over a year. Veloz was chosen after his coach Jesus Haro sent in a video of him shadow boxing and hitting the mitts.
“The goal for this trip is to reach out and expand boxing for kids in China,” Haro said.