The Most Hard Core Workout in Pereira article is inspired by the 2016 olympics. An event which brought us two Colombian medalists in boxing. Yuberjen Martinez a silver medalist, showed us how to pursue sports for all the right reasons, citing his motivation as being able to provide a home for his mother. In the Women’s Fly category we witnessed Ingrid Lorena Valencia make history as the first Colombian woman in Olympic history, to bring home a medal. She earned the bronze.
In a country torn by civil war and violence, we need these stories. We need stories of valor, courage and the ability to overcome impossible obstacles. Here in Pereira we have those stories too, about people who overcame difficult circumstances through the support and discipline of boxing. Let us tell you one of them. We bring you the Most Hard Core Workout in Pereira.
The Liga de Boxeo de Risaralda (Risaralda Boxing League), is over by the stadium on the corner of Calle 19 and Carerra 4. There, sandwiched between the stadium and a public school, is a medium sized boxing gym complete with its own boxing ring, punching bags and an alley/courtyard with a bunch of used tires thrown around like a giant ring-toss game. It’s not fancy, you can see the worn paint, the old and used up equipment, but underneath it a spirit of can-do persistence which helps drive home the reality of the place. Boxing is alive and well in the Department of Risaralda.
Head Trainer: Jud “Franky” Granada
We interviewed Jud “Franky” Granada, a two time Colombia National Champion Bantamweight, who is now the trainer at the Risaralda Boxing League (Liga de Boxeo de Risaralda). You can check out his career record here, on BoxRec. Franky got his start in boxing at the age of 13, he describes his experience as one of a young teen who had few options. He could either find a sport or hobby, or he could go hang out in the street with other impoverished teens. It was a choice that for many from his barrio, or neighborhood, often leads to violence, gangs, drug abuse and even an early death. He describes his choice as “the only activity I could find that didn’t ask for a sign-up fee or monthly payment.”
Franky trained hard and persisted. His first big break came in 1996 where he fought undefeated in the IBF Latin World Championships until the last round, losing to Wilson Aguirre. He didn’t hold back for long and went on to win 2 national titles, in 1996 and again in 2000 & an international title in 2001 in the Iber-Panamerican Championships in Panama.
He recounts one of his darkest moments in 2003, was when he was in Brazil training for a fight against Marcelino Novaes, when he received some bad news. His trainer, who had formed him, and taught him everything he knew had been killed. With a heavy heart, he flew home for the funeral. With only days left to decide his boxing future, he returned to Brazil to finish training and prepare for the championship. He didn’t win, but he fought well and his hard work paid off as he returned to Colombia to discover a higher calling.
Giving Back The Gift
Boxing is generally not well known, or even common in the Coffee Region. The heartbeat of the Colombian boxing world is the Caribbean Coast in cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla. The sport almost ceased to exist in Pereira 9 years ago when the local government decided to shut the gym down in the wake of the previous trainer’s death by murder.
Franky recounts the feeling inside him, where he knew it was of utmost importance that boxing in Pereira didn’t end this way. He took his plea to the secretary of recreation to keep the boxing gym open. He was summarily dismissed and told he didn’t have any clout, no association backing him. Like a true pugilist he went back to his corner and planned his next move. The press.
He called El Diario, El Tiempo and all the major newspapers to announce that he, Jud “Franky” Granada, a 2 time national champion, world champion contender, Iber0-Americano Champion in Panama and world class contender, was not ready to see boxing die in Pereira. He laughs and says “It was badass! The secretary of deportes y recreacion (sports & recreation), called me up saying how could you do this to us? I said to you?!, What do you mean do this to you? How could YOU do this to us!” And they came to an agreement. Franky would take over the management of Liga de Boxeo de Risaralda and sustain the program without any government assistance, and with the understanding that he would receive no contract, and no payment.
Today he is giving back the gift to disadvantaged children and teens in the same way he received it. There is a donation system for shoes & clothing for those athletes who need it. Children and teens from poor families are not required to pay, only try their hardest. All are welcome, and social status doesn’t mean anything beyond these doors.
The Most Hard Core Workout in Pereira
Today, the gym is self-sustaining and still going strong. Visitors pay 5,000 pesos to train in the morning between the hours of 7 – 10 am and in the afternoon 3,000 pesos to train in the hours of 3 – 5 pm or 6 – 9 pm, Monday through Saturday. All proceeds go into gym maintenance, equipment and the league’s community program for at-risk or disadvantaged children and teens.
The basic workout is a grueling hour and a half to 2 hours, that any cross-fit or p90x lover will appreciate. Usually, it will start with a 1-2 mile run for cardio and then 10 reps of 10 exercises which are each 10-20 series. Obviously, thats based on the experience of the person who wrote this article. The other women who work out there can already do pull-ups and push-ups that would make a marine core drill sergeant proud. The first month or so, is typically a physical training regime to reach a baseline level. After that, basic boxing technique and some sparring can commence. Bring hand wraps, or vendas, and a bottle of water. Gym gloves are optional but recommended as many workouts use old tires for strength building.
The Liga de Boxeo de Risaralda is an original old-school boxing gym with a big heart, a strong spirit and several up-and-coming competitors including Jenny Arias, a professional boxer who has won multiple Colombian national championships and is a contender in the International Boxing Cup in Guatemala in 2013, who describes boxing as “a lifelong calling” in one of her many interviews.
Clearly, this is a very real and authentic boxing gym, along with a group of athletes, where only the most dedicated survive. The surroundings may be humble, but if walls could talk you would hear countless stories of the courage and valor of those who train within. All fitness enthusiasts are welcome here, from all walks of life. Its a place of hard work, dedication and professionalism. If you are looking of The Most Hard Core Workout in Pereira, then you will definitely find it here.