Juarez-Lincoln student becomes two-time Junior Olympic Champion

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Hundreds of talented boxers from the U.S. descended on Lubbock recently to compete for a USA Junior Olympic Gold Medal.

Among the competitors was Keyla Pruneda from Mission.

“I won in Ohio, and I won in Louisiana,” said Pruneda, who competed in the 106 lb weight class this past weekend, “also I lost one time in finals but I went back and brought the gold again.”

Pruneda, a sophomore at Juarez-Lincoln High School, has been boxing since she was eight years old. She became a Junior Olympic Champion in 2019. She went on to become a National Champion in 2020, but this year she returned to the Junior Olympics to win back the gold.

“We went over ’cause we were gonna fight nationals, I was gonna go represent the RGV and I won, thank God I won and I was so excited,” said Pruneda.

There were a handful of boxers from the Rio Grande Valley who made the trip to Lubbock. Pruneda said she met boxers from Hawaii, Louisiana, and other states.

“Not everyone knows where the RGV is. When they ask me ‘where you’re from?’ I’m like ‘South Texas’ they’re like ‘so you’re like from San Antonio?’ and I’m like ‘no, down, down there,'” said Pruneda laughing.

Pruneda trains five times a week for three hours. The rigorous training, with her coach at Cardenas Boxing Gym in Palmview, pays off once she puts her gloves on and steps into the ring.

“Pretty cool ’cause my name is getting called over there while they’re over here watching my fights and everything, so I like it.”

Pruneda is a three-time National Boxing Champion and is now a two-time Junior Olympic Champion. Her accolades will not stop there, though.

“I’m gonna keep training I have like maybe, four fights on the list already so I’m gonna be getting ready for all of those.”

Pruneda is also one of 13 team members who will train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs later this month, as part of the USA High Performance Team.

Four other boxers from the RGV also won gold in their respective weight classes including siblings Andrea Favila and Gerardo Favila from Weslaco, Fabian Diaz from Edinburg, and Ranulfo Bocanegra from Donna.

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