Joseph Diaz Jr.: An Olympian's Fight For A Better Life
JoJo Diaz grew up as part of a poor family in a rough part of El Monte, Calif. Kids in his neighborhood wanted him to join one of the local gangs, but Diaz liked school. He got good grades. For that reason, and because he was so small, he was bullied a lot.
One time he fought back.
The fight landed him in a special class for troubled students, and he swore to never fight on the street again. But the bullying didn’t stop.
He turned to his father for advice, and his dad took him to the local boxing gym to learn how to defend himself the right way. The very first day, Diaz ran into one of the bullies from school at the gym. The other boy had two years experience in the ring.
“You think you’re tough?” the bully said. “Let’s spar.”
Diaz agreed to spar in a week. During that time he practiced with his father. A week later, he put on his boxing gloves and walked into the ring for his first match. He gave the bully a bloody nose and made him cry. He found his passion in life.
“Ever since then, I just got hooked on boxing,” he said. “And I said, ‘Dad, we could do this for a living.’”