18-year-old Wichita Falls boxer to make professional debut

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 7:02 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - An 18-year-old Wichita Falls native is days away from his debut match as a professional boxer.

Emanuel Moreno is a five-time National Champion and four-time Golden Glove Regional Champion. He is going into his first match as a professional boxer this weekend in Oklahoma City.

Moreno has been in the ring since the age of just 6 years old. Throughout his amateur boxing career, Moreno has over 150 fights with only 15 losses. It’s not the only sport he’s ever played. He started playing soccer as a child, but then grew a passion for boxing.

He’s had the same goal since he started, to win a world title, and he believes becoming a professional boxer gets him one step closer to making that a reality.

“We’ve prepared ourselves our whole lives and it’s just something we’re ready for,” Moreno said. “It’s a dream come true. We’ve always wanted to accomplish this goal so you know we’re ready and let’s see what they got for us, hopefully they’re ready for us to come.”

Moreno admits many sacrifices come with this journey.

“It’s a big thing staying dedicated to one thing not really going out with friends and partying and it’s a big sacrifice doing this sport,” Moreno said.

The huge support system he has with his family, sponsors and community has allowed him to make it this far. One of his biggest supporters who has been there since the beginning is his coach, Mike Zapata.

“When he first came in, I can tell that he was special because you would tell him to do something and he would just do it,” Zapata said. “There was no complaining about anything. A lot of kids come in and their focus is somewhere else, especially at 6 years old.”

In the time he’s been a coach, Zapata said he hasn’t seen someone as dedicated to the sport as Moreno. He believes that determination has played a role in all of Moreno’s achievements so far, including winning the 2017 Junior Olympic Gold Championship and five National Championship titles.

“I’ve been doing this since 2007 I believe, so I’ve had so many kids and grownups come and go and everyone says ‘I want to do this,’ but it takes a special kind of person to do this, especially at a young age like that,” Zapata said.

Zapata said he doesn’t expect this to be an easy fight, but it will give them a better idea of what they are facing going into Moreno’s professional career.