CALEXICO — The Imperial Irrigation District and Division IV Director, Eric Ortega, visited Baja Boxing Club in Calexico Monday, January 6, and presented the gymnasium with a $5,000 check.
Baja Boxing Club facilitates roughly 30 male and female boxers ranging from five years old and up.
“From children, to adolescents and adults, our primary mission is to keep kids off the streets so that they can find the discipline necessary to succeed in life,” said Baja Boxing Club Trainer Raul Lau.
In its sixth year of existence, IID’s check is the first donation the club has received.
“We are very grateful to the IID and Mr. Ortega for the support and we plan on using the funds for facility rent, to purchase new equipment, and to use for travel expenses,” said Lau.
According to organizers, the funds awarded to Baja Boxing Club came from the 2003 QSA agreement water transfers that took place between the Imperial Valley, Metropolitan Water District, Palo Verde Water District, and the Coachella Valley Water District.
“Water was transferred to the Imperial Valley at a cost to them and the money that was generated from those transfers from 2003 to 2017 to mitigate the social economic impact those transfers caused — due to all of the fields that were taken out of ag production,” said Ortega.
With upcoming scheduled bouts in Kansas City and Mexico, Lau expressed the significance of the funds since all expenses came out-of-pocket, or from fundraisers that took kids away from training.
“We invite the public to come out to our gym and see our kids’ hard work,” said Lau.
Baja Boxing is also the gym where current Golden Boy Promotions fighter, Leonardo ‘Leon’ Baez trained, as well as local male and female youngsters who are current state and national champions.
“Baja Boxing was selected because of what they do in helping local young boys and girls train in a sport that they like, that keeps them out of trouble, and that helps them develop,” said Ortega.