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Potential Junior Olympians duke it out for a spot to represent Team USA

It's the first time the boxing tournament has been hosted in Corpus Christi since 1991, and it's an important step in the careers of these Olympic hopefuls.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hundreds of amateur boxers are duking it out at the American Bank Center. Andres Luis, head coach and founder of Duke It Out Boxing Club, said it's exactly what the city needs. 

"Corpus had always been a boxing community back in the day and it just dwindled away," Luis explained. "Now, bringing it back is going to open the door for a lot of boxers here in town." 

Luis and his club worked with the City of Corpus Christi to host the USA Boxing South Texas Junior Olympics Tournament. Kids ages eight to 16 fight in their weight class for a chance to advance to nationals in Kansas next month. 

District 2 City Councilman Ben Molina spoke to 3NEWS about what this tournament means for the city. "This is an opportunity for boxing fans to come witness the next generation of fighters," he said. "These are kids from all over Texas who have worked hard, who have fought and trained so that they can come and compete here in our beautiful city." 

Luis confirmed that every singe pro was an amateur at one point, and events like these are a necessary step on that journey. "People don't hear about it too much," he added. "People look at the pros and they never actually look at the amateurs, and it actually starts with the amateurs." 

There are three rings and three simultaneous fights, just like nationals. Clubs from all around South Texas brought their best fighters for a chance to prove themselves in the ring, something the City said will draw future events, too. 

"We definitely want this to be a stepping-stone for the next big event," Molina said. "Hopefully, it can be another sports event, and what we're doing today is showcasing what the city of Corpus Christi has to offer." 

As the trophies are handed out to the gold medal winners on Sunday, boxing is officially back in Corpus Christi. 

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