The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization provided funding to the Phoenix Sports Academy in Phoenix, Arizona for their youth and adult programs. The grant was used to purchase new boxing gloves, new sparring gloves, new head protection, and new wraps. The owner, Ray Martinez, Jr. spoke about the project, and about how the funding has positively impacted their outreach efforts, as well as their ability to meet existing and ongoing needs for the participants at their gym.
Ray Martinez, Jr. is a Pascua Yaqui tribally-enrolled member, whose family is from Old Pascua. He has been involved in a lot of cultural activities throughout his life. As a young child, his grandmother told him that he should never forget who he is, and where he came from. At the age of 7 years old, he started boxing, and by 8 years old, Ray fought in his first boxing match.
He is now 40 years old, and continues to go to the gym, and to mentor and train youth and adults in the sport. Boxing has been a big part of Ray’s life, and he has had a long involvement with the sport. In 1998, Ray Martinez, Jr. made the USA boxing team. Between the ages of 18 and 19 years old, he traveled to Cuba, Canada, London, Germany, Poland, and Finnland, to name a few places. He made it to the U.S. Nationals and fought in 14 professional fights. He even sparred with Floyd Mayweather for a month!
Ray retired from professional fighting at 24 years old, but is still always in the gym. Four years ago, he started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the most diverse area code of the state. Ray is big on youth and culture, and celebrates his heritage through travel and cultural activities. He has traveled throughout many parts of Mexico, and feels that traveling and knowing who you are helps to feed the soul.
We are so proud of Ray’s accomplishments and his commitment to youth sports and mentorship. Thank you, Ray, for your enduring hard work!