An amateur boxer in Michigan recently earned US citizenship, a step that will help on his path to potentially joining America’s Olympic boxing team.
Nineteen-year-old Erick De Leon of Lincoln Park was brought to the US from Mexico by his parents, who are in the country legally, when he was a young boy, according to the Detroit News. De Leon said that he considers himself an American with a Mexican ancestry.
“I live here. I’m going to graduate from high school here,” he told the news source. “Inside my heart, I feel it. It is a pleasure to be an American.”
The news source reports that had De Leon not received his US citizenship he would not be allowed to fight in the national championships, which are essential in qualifying for the Olympic team.
De Leon is a lefty and weighs 132 pounds. USA Boxing public relations consultant Julie Goldsticker told the news source that the high school senior is “on our radar.”
De Leon fights out of Kronk Gym and has drawn strong praise from famed trainer Emanuel Steward, who in 1963 won the national Golden Glove championship for the bantamweight division.