BOXING: Local youth has the right combo

Rosino LeGan, 15, has been boxing for the past four years, training two to three hours a day, six days a week. On Monday June 18 he's headed to the Junior Olympics in Mobile, Alabama.

Rosino LeGan had quite a busy weekend. It began last Friday. As part of Mount Madonna High School’s (Watsonville) production of “Ramayana,” LeGan conquered his role as part of the demon army.

Saturday, he took “a long drive” with his dad, Tom, to Sacramento, where he hoisted himself onto a different kind of stage – the boxing ring.

In one final tune-up fight before embarking on a weeklong trip to Mobile, Ala. – the site of next week’s USA Boxing Junior Olympic National Championships – LeGan, a resident of Gilroy, outlasted his Stockton-based opponent in a 132-pound bout, gaining a decision victory.

“The first round was pretty close, but my work-rate and pressure started to wear him down,” LeGan said. “And midway through the second round I bloodied his nose. In the third, I stepped up the pace and threw more combinations to seal the deal, and got the decision after three rounds. Overall it was a good-paced match, and I was glad that he came to fight.”

On Sunday, the well-spoken teenager was again playing his part in the school performance. It’s all in a week’s work.

“I like doing anything in front of a big crowd,” LeGan joked.

LeGan, 15, now shifts his focus as he charges to Mobile – the largest platform he will mount to date.

“Getting into the national championships is my first real big step toward accomplishing my ultimate goal of getting into the Olympics,” said LeGan, who added that the 2016 Summer Games is his target.

“These types of tournaments help me get the recognition, exposure and experience I need to compete at the highest level.”

Aside from training “mostly out of my garage,” the 5-foot, 11-inch LeGan is part of the San Jose Police Activities League (PAL) boxing program, which is a branch of USA Boxing. His amateur record, which includes his win at the Northern California and Western regional tournaments (his tickets to the upcoming nationals), is 5-3, though LeGan politely contests that it should be 6-2.

“That’s just in my opinion,” LeGan chuckled.

LeGan, who participated in tae kwon do, was drawn to the sport as a kid, recognizing early on the true grit of the sport.

“It just seemed so real – that I could use it to defend myself. I like the challenge it presented.”

To say that he fell deeply in love with boxing may actually be an understatement. More accurately, he fell head-over-heels, madly in love.

“My love for boxing is very great. I am entirely devoted to it,” he said. “I spend most of my time boxing and training for boxing.”

And the aforementioned garage only keeps that classification because of its original use. But there are no cars in sight. That garage is a wall-to-wall training facility, adorned with American and Olympic flags and a poster of the one and only Muhammad Ali.

For two to three hours per day, six times per week, LeGan is trained by dad. It’s an opportunity the youngster appreciates and embraces.

“I’ve heard that there are a lot of problems when it comes to father-son training relationships, but I think ours works pretty good,” LeGan said. “I listen to what he says, but we can also talk things over to determine what works best. I know that he has my best interests in mind and he’s just trying to help me. And what he has taught me so far has worked well.”

The workout regimen lists sprints before school (LeGan upholds a 4.0 grade point average), mitt work, some heavy bag, speed bag and shadowboxing exercises and capped twice a week with distance running.

“His achievements are a product of his own hard work, focus, and unfaltering determination,” Tom LeGan said. “Although training twice a day, he will often ask me if I think he has done enough… .”

When LeGan arrives in Mobile one day ahead of the tournament, 13 other combatants will be in his 132-pound weight class.

“I’m expecting my opponents to have a bit more experience than me. But I won’t let that detour me because the guys who I train with are very experienced – multiple national champions. I will look at each one as just another fight in a different place.”

The Junior Olympic National Championships run Tuesday through Friday.

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