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Going to four local state championships

FARMERSVILLE − Team KO gym owner and head trainer Danny Valdovinos travels across the state of California to take his fighters to different competitions.

“The gym keeps me busy Monday through Saturday and sometimes Sunday,” said Valdovinos, who is also the Deputy Mayor of Farmersville.

Team KO gym trains athletes from beginner to advanced levels in a variety of combat sports including boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling. The team’s current focus is on the four boxers who will be traveling to Perris to compete in the Title Boxing USA Amateur Southern California State Championships from July 12-14. The competition will feature top boxers from around the state.

Team KO, featuring Eduardo Rodriguez, Joel Avila, Jalisco Valenzuela and Esteban Garcia, will travel to Perris to win the state championship.

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“These kids work hard, and I know that,” Valdovinos said. “We’re like a family here. I’ve known them for years, and I feel a connection to them as if they were my own kids.”

  • Rodriguez is a 16-year-old Redwood High School senior and will compete at 125 pounds.
  • Avila is 14 years old and attends Farmersville High School. He will compete at 100 pounds.
  • Valenzuela is a 14-year-old fighter from El Diamante High School. He will be fighting at 125 pounds.
  • Garcia, an 18-year-old recent Mt. Whitney graduate, will compete at 139 pounds.

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“These events are not easy,” Valdovinos said. “This is a fight between the best of the best boxers in the state.”

Rodriguez has experience competing in tournaments similar to the one ahead of her. She won the Central California Junior Olympic title earlier this year and is a former Central California Silver Gloves champion.

The actor, who said he chose boxing because it seemed easy, admits that he was wrong.

“I came and tried it and it was the opposite of what I thought it would be,” Rodriguez said. “It was harder than I thought it would be, but I like to push myself.”

All four fighters are excited about the opportunity to compete in the upcoming season and are especially excited to be entering the tournament together.

“This is going to be fun because the last time I went I was alone,” Rodriguez said. “Losing weight together won’t be so bad. We can help each other out and give each other tips. I’m looking forward to it.”

Valdovinos has been opening his gym to local youth for free for about 20 years.

He calls his program the Leave No Kid Behind Program and is seeking donations from the community to attend the state championships. He is seeking help covering the cost of travel, lodging and registration for the event.

He said the gym’s trainers are covering the cost of registration but are welcoming donations to give the four fighters the best experience possible. He said anyone who wants to help can reach out to him on his Facebook page or on Instagram at @mr_teamko.

“This is all about giving back to kids,” Valdovinos said. “There’s a lot of talent out there, but not everyone has the money to pay the monthly dues. This is a good way to keep kids busy. I know how hard it can be because when I was a kid, my parents had to scrape together pennies and nickels to buy me shoes. It’s tough out there. I wanted to open the gym and give back to kids in the community.”