Frank Galarza Finds New Joy In Boxing
As a veteran working on a winning streak to position himself
for a shot at top contenders, there is little boxer Frank
Galarza doesn't know about what it takes to be a champion.
What is new is trying to accomplish his goals while also
being the best father possible to his daughter, Joy, who
will be two years old in November.
The Brooklyn based super welterweight with a record of 19
wins, two losses, two draws, and 11 knockouts is currently
preparing for his next bout on Saturday, August 4 in
Atlantic City on the non-televised undercard of the Kovalev
vs. Alvarez fight against opponent Alex Sandro Duarte
(13-5-1, 10 KOs), 38, a Brazilian boxer now based New York.
"You never underestimate an opponent. I train like every
fighter is a threat. Regardless of what and who, I make sure
I put in the time and the work ... Perfecting your craft,
trying to get better every time. There really is no secret,"
More than ever, Galarza has a joy and purpose thanks to his
daughter, who lives up to her name. "Joy brings joy to me,
happiness, a sense of peace.
"It's for her, everything I do has to be for her ... I have
the motivation to work and do something no one thought I
could. I have to show my little one, you can be anything.
You've got to put in the time and effort, you can't be
half-assed. You have to be real and genuine, you have to be
out there for a purpose. It can't be for myself anymore,"
Galarza says in the beginning of any boxer's career, he's
fighting for himself. As his career progresses, he begins to
fight for something outside himself, which gives his career
far more meaning.
"It goes beyond the glory, it goes beyond the fans, it goes
beyond that. I had to find that myself. What's the reason
I'm fighting? What's the purpose? The end goal is always to
be great, to push to limits I didn't think I could reach,"
said Galarza. "Now, my daughter is a factor. It's
redirecting you to something greater."
Galarza brings Joy to the gym with him daily while he's
training, and he says she loves it. "It surprised me. She
knows work is work, she knows training is when I am
focusing. It's fun for her and it's fun for me.
"When I start throwing punches, she starts smiling. When I
hit the bag, she loves it. When I watch her, and someone's
shadow boxing, she sits and watches. It's amazing, she's
very observant. She picks up the pads, she wants to hold
pads. I don't really know what's going on in her head. But I
see the smile on her face," laughs Galarza.
"Kids need our time. They need the presence of someone
there. I prefer for her to be active, to be outside, trying
to take her to the park, experiencing people. It's more
important for me and her," said Galarza.
Galarza's natural affinity for kids motivated him to start
his foundation Youth Fighting Forward in 2014 for kids of
all backgrounds. Galarza saw a way to help kids who come
from a background like his own without family or other
support systems through boxing and mixed martial arts, along
with a range of educational strategies.
Galarza says his foundation has lately shifted focus to
after-school programs with an emphasis on boxing therapy to
help troubled kids manage negative emotions. Galarza
explains he recognized the need for such a program due to
the current opioid addiction crisis.
"These kids are aggressive and need a place to work out
their aggressions," said Galarza. "They are struggling in
ways we didn't coming up. Boxing needs to be more
therapeutic, focusing on the mental aspect. After a boxing
workout, you feel release. Take a kid dealing with some kind
of trauma, whatever frustration you feel today, release it
into the bag. Now breathe, focus, and release the energy,
transfer it to the bag and you don't have to take it.
Galarza may be a devoted father and mentor, but some things
never change. "We don't get paid by the hour!" said Galarza.
"I'll try to put on a show, entertain the crowd, and get
Duarte out of there as quick as possible. You got to see the
boxing style Frank, with jabs, footwork and movement. Now
the old Frank Notorious is coming back!" promises Galarza.
He is especially excited about fighting in the brand new
venue's Etess Arena. "Having the new Hard Rock in Atlantic
City, it will start to grow and build back to what it was
before, with the greats there like Arturo Gatti. Let's go
back to that time."