As a veteran working on a winning streak to position himself for a shot at top contenders, there is little boxer Frank Galarza doesn’t know about what it takes to be a champion. What is new is trying to accomplish his goals while also being the best father possible to his daughter, Joy, who will be two years old in November.
The Brooklyn based super welterweight with a record of 19 wins, two losses, two draws, and 11 knockouts is currently preparing for his next bout on Saturday, August 4 in Atlantic City on the non-televised undercard of the Kovalev vs. Alvarez fight against opponent Alex Sandro Duarte (13-5-1, 10 KOs), 38, a Brazilian boxer now based New York.
"You never underestimate an opponent. I train like every fighter is a threat. Regardless of what and who, I make sure I put in the time and the work ... Perfecting your craft, trying to get better every time. There really is no secret," said Galarza.
More than ever, Galarza has a joy and purpose thanks to his daughter, who lives up to her name. "Joy brings joy to me, happiness, a sense of peace.
"It’s for her, everything I do has to be for her ... I have the motivation to work and do something no one thought I could. I have to show my little one, you can be anything. You’ve got to put in the time and effort, you can’t be half-assed. You have to be real and genuine, you have to be out there for a purpose. It can’t be for myself anymore," said Galarza.
Galarza says in the beginning of any boxer’s career, he’s fighting for himself. As his career progresses, he begins to fight for something outside himself, which gives his career far more meaning.
"It goes beyond the glory, it goes beyond the fans, it goes beyond that. I had to find that myself. What’s the reason I’m fighting? What’s the purpose? The end goal is always to be great, to push to limits I didn’t think I could reach," said Galarza. "Now, my daughter is a factor. It’s redirecting you to something greater."
Galarza brings Joy to the gym with him daily while he’s training, and he says she loves it. "It surprised me. She knows work is work, she knows training is when I am focusing. It’s fun for her and it’s fun for me.
"When I start throwing punches, she starts smiling. When I hit the bag, she loves it. When I watch her, and someone’s shadow boxing, she sits and watches. It’s amazing, she’s very observant. She picks up the pads, she wants to hold pads. I don’t really know what’s going on in her head. But I see the smile on her face," laughs Galarza.
"Kids need our time. They need the presence of someone there. I prefer for her to be active, to be outside, trying to take her to the park, experiencing people. It’s more important for me and her," said Galarza.
Galarza’s natural affinity for kids motivated him to start his foundation Youth Fighting Forward in 2014 for kids of all backgrounds. Galarza saw a way to help kids who come from a background like his own without family or other support systems through boxing and mixed martial arts, along with a range of educational strategies.
Galarza says his foundation has lately shifted focus to after-school programs with an emphasis on boxing therapy to help troubled kids manage negative emotions. Galarza explains he recognized the need for such a program due to the current opioid addiction crisis.
"These kids are aggressive and need a place to work out their aggressions," said Galarza. "They are struggling in ways we didn’t coming up. Boxing needs to be more therapeutic, focusing on the mental aspect. After a boxing workout, you feel release. Take a kid dealing with some kind of trauma, whatever frustration you feel today, release it into the bag. Now breathe, focus, and release the energy, transfer it to the bag and you don’t have to take it.
Galarza may be a devoted father and mentor, but some things never change. "We don’t get paid by the hour!" said Galarza. "I’ll try to put on a show, entertain the crowd, and get Duarte out of there as quick as possible. You got to see the boxing style Frank, with jabs, footwork and movement. Now the old Frank Notorious is coming back!" promises Galarza.
He is especially excited about fighting in the brand new venue’s Etess Arena. "Having the new Hard Rock in Atlantic City, it will start to grow and build back to what it was before, with the greats there like Arturo Gatti. Let’s go back to that time."