Studio City, CA (June 11) Imagine coming to America at age seven, having never worn, let alone owned a pair of shoes in your life. That is only one of many hardships overcome by brothers Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas on their way to simultaneously becoming World Champions and adored by their fans and the world of boxing.
Having worked the entirety of their young lives in Mexico instead of going to school, it seemed natural for the boys to sell candy door to door after school when they emigrated to Southern California. Gabriel had stopped to make a sale at the “neighborhood” gym of boxing trainer Joe Goossen, and upon seeing the ring and bags, asked Goossen to teach him the sport.
“I was reluctant at first, because here you have a 13-year-old kid asking for help and I was training professionals so I tried to send him away,” said Joe Goossen of young Gabriel.
Alonzo Strongbow, the #1 Flyweight in the World was there and persuaded Joe to give Gabriel a shot because he ‘saw something in his eyes.’
Gabriel asked several times if he could bring younger brother Rafael into the gym too. Joe denied the request on multiple occasions until he realized that he needed someone to spar with Gabriel, so he conceded and the next day Rafael put down his box of candy and came in to the gym.
“The very first day Rafael joined his brother, we put the gloves and headgear on him and threw him in the ring with Gabriel who gave his little brother a beating, until Rafael just used his natural ability and was able to slip away from several of the punches his brother was throwing,” Joe Goossen reflects. “I remember Frankie Duarte (top world contender) and I were watching this and nudging each other. We both knew what incredible talent we had in our gym, and now we had two of them!
“At the time I may not have known it, but I’ve certainly come to realize that this was a very special, once in a lifetime relationship between a trainer and a fighter. Then to have actually been successful with it, and turn these young kids into two World Champions was extraordinary and I’m quite proud of them. It’s a team effort on something like this and their dedication and desire to perfect what they were doing was unparalleled.”
Goossen Tutor Promotions is bringing a prominent reoccurring boxing series, titled “Live at the Lodge” back to the San Fernando Valley reflective of their “Country Club Series” in the 80s which enabled Gabriel and Rafael and many others to hone their skills in becoming World Champions. The first of these shows will be held June 23 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, Calif. and will be broadcast live on Telefutura’s hit series “Solo Boxeo Tecate.”
Dan and Joe Goossen will be honoring the “Candy Kids” at the inaugural event for their contribution to the sport of boxing and the incredibly inspiring success story of the two World Champion boxers, and their rise from selling candy upon their arrival in America to success in and out of the ring.
“Little did I know twenty some odd years ago we would be honoring Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas for their achievements in the sport of boxing,” Dan Goossen said fondly. “They were literally selling candy door-to-door in the neighborhood as 11 and 12 year-olds and stumbled across my brother’s gym. They told my brother Joe they wanted to become boxers and the next thing I know they each became World Champions. They have been the benchmark for hard-work, dedication, heart and loyalty for every fighter we’ve signed since. Even today, I find that the Ruelas brothers are fondly remembered by boxing fans.”
“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition, especially in the valley where we grew up and had so many fights right here at the Reseda Country Club,” said Rafael Ruelas. “I try not to get too close to boxing and reflect back on my career too often because it brings back a lot of great memories. I miss the sport tremendously and I’m just very grateful to be receiving an honor like this.”
His brother Gabriel modestly stated, “It is very special to be receiving any kind of award in boxing, especially with so many World Champions who could be on the receiving end. I think what we had was a special scenario that was so unique because the Goossen’s really took us in. I didn’t look at them as a trainer and a promoter, they were family. That kind of loyalty is hard to come by anywhere, let alone in boxing.”
The event will be broadcast on TeleFutura’s hit series “Solo Boxeo Tecate” and promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions.
Puerto Rican super middleweight prospect Roberto Jose Acevedo (3-0, 2 KOs) says his upcoming opponent, Martinez Sharod Porter (1-1) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had better be prepared for battle this Friday… because he is.
Acevedo and Porter will meet in a four-round non-televised preliminary bout on the undercard of the ShoBox: The New Generation telecast presented by Warriors Boxing, entitled “Shootout at Texas Station”, scheduled for Friday, May 11 (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), from the Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas.
The night will be headlined by Cleveland’s once-beaten Willie “The Great” Nelson (17-1-1, 11 KOs) stepping in to face Cuba’s Yudel Jhonson (12-0, 8 KOs) in the 10-round junior middleweight main event, plus an eight-round co-featured battle of undefeated super middleweights Badou Jack “The Ripper” (10-0, 8 KOs) of Sweden and Colombia’s power-punching Alexander Brand (17-0, 15 KOs).
25-year-old Acevedo stands 6′ 2″ and has an almost 80-inch reach. He was born in Miami, but grew up in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. As an amateur, Acevedo was 50-1, 20 KOs, qualified for the Puerto Rico National Olympic team and was a three-time Puerto Rican Regional and two-time Puerto Rican National champion.
What are your impressions of professional boxing now that you’ve had a few fights? Is it a difficult transition from amateur to pro?
More dedication and sacrifice are required in the pros, but for me pro fighting hasn’t been all that different from amateur fighting because I’ve always had a professional style, even in the amateurs.
What do you know about your opponent Martinez Porter?
Other than his name and record, nothing. All I know is that come May 11, he needs to be prepared, because I know I am.
You’re young and fairly big for a super middleweight, will we ever see you take a jump up in weight?
I’m not really considering going up in weight for now. I’ve always been comfortable doing 165 lbs or less. My height is something I like to use to my advantage.
Describe yourself as a fighter. Style? Best Punch? Biggest Strength as a fighter?
I would say I’m a complex fighter. I never count on using only one style, one technique or one punch. I try to keep myself from being predictable. Me and my team take care of that by studying and taking on new techniques and fixing my flaws. Best punch? I’d say watch out for my uppercuts. My biggest strength? My desire and dedication.
How did you start in boxing?
Truth is the fight has always been in me. When I was a teenager, I went to juvenile detention for fighting. So as soon as I got out, I thought that the best ways to straighten my ways and do what I loved without getting in trouble was boxing (laughs). Even though my father was against it, my uncle went and bought me all the gear. So, here I am. Since then, throughout the years my reasons for boxing have changed, but the passion that I feel for it only grows.
You were born in Miami and moved to Puerto Rico. Why?
Even though I was born in Miami both of my parents are Puerto Rican. Eventually my father and mother divorced and my father decided to move back to Puerto Rico along with me and my brothers. It’s in my blood!! I’ll always say I’m a Boricua even if I had I been born on the moon!
Why did you turn professional when you did?
Even though I had a great amateur career, I had to fight people way bigger in weight classes to get fights. After making the Puerto Rico Olympic team for the Mayagüez 2010 – XXI Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe, my fiancée was pregnant and we needed the money and I was made a great offer to jump to the pro boxing. It never happened due to poor management and it wasn’t till I spoke with my older brother and actual manager, Jose Alberto Acevedo. They helped me go pro and make my dream come true.
Tell me about your home life in Bayamon.
I live a normal life. I’m a boxer and a barber, but above all, a father and a husband, a brother and a son. My life is very family oriented. Everything I do, I do for my family. I have been living in the same town since I first moved to Puerto Rico, and everyone follows my career. I have great support from my people in Bayamon.
What is your dream in boxing?
My biggest dream in boxing would have to be to achieve a place among the best. I’d like to win titles and defend them. I’ll prove I’m worth them.
Tickets for “Shootout at Texas Station” are on sale now, priced at $27 and $52 and are available at Ticketmaster, any Texas Station rewards center or at SCLV.COM/CONCERTS. A few VIP seats are available at a price of $102 can be purchased by calling (954) 985-1155.
On fight night, doors open at 6:30 and the action starts at 7:00 pm.
Station Bucks may be used to purchase tickets. All ages welcome. Under 21 must be accompanied by an adult 21 or over. Show subject to change without notice. Management reserves all rights. Digital Photography and video prohibited. Tickets can be purchased at any Station Casinos Boarding Pass Rewards Center, The Fiesta’s, by logging onto stationcasinos.com/concerts or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel is located at 2101 Texas Star Lane in North Las Vegas. Telephone: (702) 631-1000 or (800) 654-8888.