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Ridgeview HS boxer with ‘raw talent’ training for national competition and Olympic Trials opportunity

(Update: adding video, comments from boxer and his coach)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Kevin Limbeck-Ochoa is training for his biggest fight yet.

Limbeck-Ochoa started boxing when he was just 6 years old.

After 12 years of competing as a minor, he’s ready to face the best of the best on the national stage.

Besides the belt, a trip to the Olympic Trials is on the line.

The 18-year-old will head to Philadelphia in May for the 100th Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions.

“There've been a lot of champions coming out of Philly, and it's a national tournament, so it's pretty self explanatory,” Limbeck-Ochoa said. 

He's currently raising funds for his journey, and you can find a link to donate here.

The Ridgeview senior has come a long way since his dad introduced him to boxing at the age of 6.

“I was getting bullied one time and he said he’s going to teach me to defend myself so he put me in a boxing gym and that’s how I got into boxing,” Limbeck-Ochoa. “Ever since then, I just fell in love with it.”

Richard Miller with the Deschutes County ROCKS Boxing Team has been Kevin’s coach since his first fight at 8 years old, to his first as an adult.

“I told him he wasn’t 'a normal 6-year-old kid' -- his skill level, his attention span just at a higher level than most kids that age,” Miller said. “He had what I call natural raw talent.”

This year, Kevin won states in Oregon and regionals in Las Vegas, beating the third-ranked boxer in the country.

“On his 18th birthday was the state tournament, so he got in this year,” Miller said.

The 156-pound boxer has a 97-18 record, and is not afraid to learn from his rare defeats.

“Oh yeah, I’ve lost!” Limbeck-Ochoa said with a chuckle. “That’s part of the game: You lose some, you win some, you lose some.”

Miller touched on his perseverance. 

“He’s been through a lot,” Miller said. “He’s been through injuries, sickness, heartache, bad decisions -- and then he comes back. So it's all paying off now.”

Coach Miller says out of the ring, Kevin is as quiet, smart and polite as they come.

Limbeck-Ochoa said it’s all about a mindset change when he steps in the ring. 

“I just forget about my surroundings. I forget about the outside world,” he said. “I come to be in tune with just me and the person in front of me.”

In front of Limbeck-Ochoa will be some of the best adult boxers in the country.

If he finishes in the top two, he’ll qualify for the Olympic Trials.

“It's my first time, and I’m the youngest to go to this tournament -- or be at this tournament, pretty much,” he said, "I’m barely 18, and it's 18- to 40-year-olds, so I mean, there's some nerves there. But for the most part, I’m very confident.”

Coach Miller is sure he’ll rise to the challenge.

“He has one ingredient that you have to have in boxing: He’s able to raise his level according to the competition,” Miller said. “I still don’t think I’ve seen the top level yet. He’s got a couple more notches to go.”

Limbeck-Ochoa is also a tremendous varsity soccer player with Ridgeview, winning Player of the Year honors in 2021 and First Team honors this year.

I'm told whether he makes the Olympic boxing team or not, his next goal is to turn pro.

Coach Miller has no doubts he’ll get there -- and succeed.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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