Kane Sandoval hopes boxing will show him a better world than the one he sees in the violence in Sacramento, California, every day.
On April 6, 2021, six people were killed on the streets of Sacramento, California, in what was called the K Street Shootout. There is evidence that the shooting was linked to the gang. Guerrilla warfare is an emerging problem in Sacramento, but it has been around for a long time. Lightweight boxer Ken Sandoval grew up surrounded by Sacramento violence his whole life.
“Yes it is [viloence] Sandoval told FanSided.
Sandoval is only 19 years old, but boxing has given the young fighter a positive outlet in a world surrounded by chaos.
Sandoval started boxing at the age of six. His uncle got him into it, but the Sandoval family has a boxing heritage.
“But since I was five, my dad has been telling me his grandfather used to box,” Sandoval said. “My aunt used to box, and my dad would tease. To be honest, it’s only in my blood.”
Sandoval grew up in a rough part of Sacramento, but boxing helped keep him motivated and out of trouble. It also introduced him to an outside world that he used to see daily in his hometown.
Ken Sandoval tries to go 6-0 against Daniel Evangelista Jr on Friday 5 August
“I started traveling for the national championships,” Sandoval said. “And I’ve seen other places how it is. And I’m like, Wow. There’s more outside of Sac. I’m used to like, you know, the ghetto. Then I see there like, Oh, we’ve got these championships with everyone. They’re trying to win this tournament.” And I was like, there’s more to life than just a sack.”
Traveling to boxing tournaments allowed Sandoval to see other parts of the United States that weren’t engulfed in violence. He saw how boxing could keep him away from his harsh surroundings, and this is where his ambitions as a professional boxer began.
Sandoval performed well in more than 100 amateur matches and dreamed of boxing at the Olympics, but boxing politics were not on his side.
“You know how important amateur boxing is,” Sandoval said. “Fight in a guy’s hometown – it’s a close fight – you’re not going to fight. In the national championships, I feel like I’ve dominated. They directly control, they’re going to go the other way, and I, me, my family, my team, really sacrifice a lot of things to be here just to do so.”
While Sandoval also missed the minimum age to qualify for the Olympics, he was already disenfranchised due to the bias he felt he received from the judges at the bigger tournaments. He decided it was time to turn professional at the age of 18.
Sandoval has done well for himself since he turned professional in August 2021. He won all of his five matches by knockout. Sandoval leads the competition on Friday, August 5, at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento.
Sandoval’s opponent is Daniel Evangelista Jr (20-14-2, 16 KO). Evangelista has won more than he lost and has double-digit wins in KO.
Evangelista’s primary weapon is experience. He fought against Tito Mercado, Hank Lundy, Isaac Cruz and Argénés Mendes. He did not win those matches, but entered the elite competition.
Sandoval sees this as the moment he begins to challenge himself even more in the ring.
“Yeah, that’s a real first step for me, to be honest,” Sandoval said. “This is how I see it.”
Sandoval has a strong team behind him, from his coach to his manager. He’s realistic about the business and knows he has to win a lot to get the attention of a major promoter to one day get the kind of spells that can turn him into a star.
“When I’d go to the nationals, I’d like, ‘Oh, yeah, top rank would pick me up right away, or this manager would pick me up right away,'” Sandoval said. “And like when I became a pro, I liked it, it’s like slowly grinding. You know, maybe one day they’ll pick me up.”
Sandoval hopes that a famous promoter will discover his business in the ring. He is dedicated to achieving this and doing his best to become a better boxer.
Until then, Sandoval is still surrounded by the harsh realities of Sacramento, but he knows well beyond the city limits and believes with all his being that boxing is his way to live a better life in a safer place.
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