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Tony Valdez— The Sweet Science

In a professional boxing career that has earned him eight wins, seven by knockout, Tony Valdez today trains the next generation of fighters at his own gym in Española, New Mexico. Tony's goal is to pass on the easy way what he learned the hard way.
March 28, 2018
  • Tony Valdez
  • Tony Valdez
“I give a lot of credit to my wife Christy. The boxing world moves so fast, and she has always been there to keep me in line and help me make the right decisions.”

The Sweet Science

With deliberate, cat-like movement, super-bantamweight boxer Tony “The Warrior” Valdez, a teamster with Logistics Heavy Equipment Roads & Grounds (LOG-HERG) in salvage at TA-60, stalks his opponent. Piercing eyes assess the situation, which this time calls for patience. Frustrated, Tony’s opponent moves to strike first. He is quickly jammed, with Tony responding with a devastating five-punch combination of his own.

For the past 16 years, Tony has earned a professional boxing record of eight wins, four losses and seven draws. Of those eight wins, seven have been by knockout. Anyone who has seen Tony in the ring knows that he has never been in a dull fight. In a 2016 article in Boxing News, journalist Austin Killeen described Tony’s approach to boxing as follows: “If you’ve ever tried cutting into a cheap steak, you have some idea what fighting Valdez is like. Fighting Valdez is like have a rash, he never seems to go away.”

tony valdez
Boxer Tony Valdez delivers a killer left, smashing his opponent's face.

The Allure of the Sweet Science

Like so many who are attracted to the Sweet Science, Tony Valdez seemed destined to become a fighter.

“I remember as far back as when I was 14 years old I was always fighting—I loved getting into fights,” Tony says, a little smile on his chiseled face. “There’s this good friend of mine, his name is Dennis O’Brian, he found a boxing coach in Santa Fe by the name of Mario Montoya. Dennis tells me, here’s this guy’s number—you always wanted to box—so call him and make the connection. The rest is up to you.”

Tony remembers those early years training under Montoya and later under renowned Santa Fe boxing trainer and promoter Pat Holmes as some of the best. “I felt like the king of the world because I was doing what I loved,” he recalls.

Through his 16-year professional career, Tony has come face-to-face with some of the world’s best boxers, such as Felipe Rivas, Gilberto Mendosa, Raymond “Hollewood” Montes and Augustine Banegas. “That’s how I earned my nickname,” Tony says. “They call me ‘The Warrior’ because I always turned down the easy cards—I only wanted to fight the toughest guys out there.”

Moving on but Keeping a Hand in Boxing

Today, Tony is inactive on the professional circuit and is contemplating retirement. However, there has always been an urge to pass on what he learned the hard way to the next generation of boxers, both male and female.

On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Tony spends his time after a hard day at work at his gym, where he teaches boxing to young people of all ages. The gym is quite impressive, with various stations dedicated to the development of specific skills (from heavy bags to develop power to speed bags to develop movement) and a ring for full-contact sparring. Tony makes sure to work with each of his students, focusing on their specific desires. One moment he is teaching someone the basics of calisthenics while the next he is in the ring with another student practicing punching precision and targeting by using contact mitts.

“I’m still living the dream,” says Tony. “This is my gym, where I get to train with kids and still keep fresh in boxing.”

Tony Valdez
Tony Valdez works with kids at his gym in Española.

Tony Valdez works as a teamster for Logistics Heavy Equipment Roads & Grounds (LOG-HERG) at salvage for TA-60.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the Employee Spotlight articles are solely those of the featured employees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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