CLINTON – Boxing is one of the few sports you can do year round, according to Jorge Landa Rodriguez, founder of Del Sol Boxing Club.
It can also be an economic boost for Clinton County.
Landa Rodriguez moved 5-time cruiserweight world champion Robert Daniels to Clinton this week to help train the amateur boxers at Del Sol. But Landa Rodriguez and Daniels have big plans for Clinton County as well.
Bringing sanctioned amateur events to Clinton County is feasible, Landa Rodriguez said. Daniels has done it before.
“It’s a big deal,” said Daniels. “You get a lot of income coming in.”
Landa Rodriguez already has leads on two event opportunities. Clinton LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow asked if he’d like to use the stadium for an event, Landa Rodriguez said. “He called me.”
The boxing coach has also heard from organizers of Camanche Days about hosting a tournament during their celebration. Camanche can help Del Sol by providing a location for an event, “and we can help them by bringing in revenue,” Landa Rodriguez said.
“I think everyone’s seeing the potential. I can only imagine what we can do in a couple of years.”
“My purpose here is to help Jorge train amateur boxers,” Daniels said Tuesday. But he also wants to “put him on the map” and “give Clinton, Iowa a name.”
Known as Preacherman in boxing circles, Daniels turned pro in 1984 and finished his professional career in 2012 with a record of 49-10-1 with 41 knockouts, according to BoxRec.
Daniels moved to Clinton from Florida where he operated a couple of boxing centers after his retirement. “He and I have been friends for a long time,” said Landa Rodriguez. “The boxing world is a small world.”
“I could have went to Colorado. I could have went to Pennsylvania,” Daniels said. “But I knew Jorge for awhile. I trained his daughter.
“He was very professional. Very courteous,” Daniels said. “He wasn’t lying to me.
“I think this is going to be a good fit,” Daniels said.
“Professional boxing is a marathon,” Daniels said, “and amateur boxing is a sprint.” Amateur boxers throw 75-80 punches a round, Daniels said, because they’re trying to score points.
In professional boxing, “you throw for power, not for speed,” Daniels said.
On his his first full day in Clinton, Daniels observed the skills of Giovanni Nuño. “I see this young man. He has some talent. He can punch. He’s got good speed. All I have to do is mold him.”
While Landa Rodriguez has some boxers he thinks can turn pro, Daniels didn’t come to Clinton to make professional boxers, he said. “Being a professional is a serious, serious matter.” Winning at that level takes hard work and determination.
“I do not encourage amateur boxers to turn pro. I’m here to help Jorge train these kids,” Daniels said.
Landa Rodriguez trains amateur boxers for the Junior Olympics, the Olympics and Golden Gloves. A couple of his daughters have won Golden Gloves, he said.
Daughter Ashley Landa, who helps train young boxers at Del Sol, is a three-time Golden Glove winner and a Junior Olympics winner known as The Punching Princess, Landa Rodriguez said.
Del Sol Boxing Club is the only club in Clinton County registered with USA Boxing, the National Governing Body for Olympic-style boxing in the United States.
Daniels hopes Del Sol can find funding for equipment needed to host Ringside boxing tournaments. “A ring is pretty expensive.”
Daniels suggested that the city invest in equipment for Landa Rodriguez. “He’ll be keeping these kids off the streets.” If boxing keeps one kid out of jail, “you’re saving the city money,” Daniels said.
Del Sol operates out of Gateway Area Community Center and trains more than 40 boxers from 4 years old to adult, Landa Rodriguez said. “If you grab them early enough and give them a purpose, you change their lives.”
“I don’t even call it a sport. I call it a lifestyle,” Landa Rodriguez said.”It’s not a gym. It’s a family.”
Landa Rodriguez encourages his students to go to Del Sol Boxing Club as often as possible. ”When you’re around these guys, you can’t be unhappy.”