Boxing is an adrenaline-pumping sport that requires agility of body, presence of mind, punching power, and a high level of pain tolerance. Becoming a boxer requires incredible focus and exceptional discipline. It is a brutal sport that is known for breaking jaws, bones and, more often than not, for shattering dreams. Many great legends walk into the ring holding the championship belt, but only a few have the power to carve a niche for themselves and blaze their names in the hall of fame. Boxers like Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather have given their sweat and blood to this sport, making them the greatest boxers of all time. They have undoubtedly made history with their boxing gloves. The records they made and the titles they won have proven their dominance over the sport, but now the tides have shifted. Despite our love for such historical legends, the world of boxing has to move forward toward new and exciting talent.
Among many young talents, there is one such sportsperson who has been rippling the boxing world and that is none other than Mario Orlando Herrera. He is an exceptional fighter in the ring and outside. A Mexican descent American who has entered the boxing ring nine times and won each and every fight, Mario has not been defeated throughout his professional career. This underdog fighter has been given many titles that include ‘Rio’, ‘River’ and ‘Ghost’. However, one of his coaches gave him the moniker ‘Hemi’ after witnessing the power of his punches. Mario Herrera was born on September 23, 1997, in a struggling Mexican American family.
As a first-generation American, Mario wanted to fulfil his American dream. He always believed that success could be achieved if one puts in hard work and effort. And that is exactly what he did. It was his self-belief and passion for sports that made him into the successful sportsperson he is today. It might seem that Mario was always into boxing; however, he loved to play football and was a key member of his high school team. This genius boxer used to get in a lot of trouble as a kid, which rusted his true potential as an athlete. His talent was first discovered by Fernando Perez, Mario’s strength and conditioning instructor in high school. Perez motivated Mario to join a boxing gym in Palatine, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago and also suggested him to take up boxing to stay out of trouble. Perez knew this would channel Mario’s rage while effectively using his time, strength and all his energies to develop a career out of it. Since then there has been no looking back for Mario Herrera.
Mario was new to the world of boxing but was familiar with fighting. According to him, this sport isn’t easy for everyone but is in fact for those who like taking on challenges and overcoming them no matter what comes their way. He knew and believed that he was actually built for it. Talking about the kind of problems he had to face, he shares, “There were many challenges I faced as I started my boxing journey. Just like growing up, not having the resources or having people truly believe in me led me to a slow start. This being said, I would bounce from gym to gym, which came with having different trainers teach different things.”
He further went on to say, “It wasn’t so bad getting to learn certain things, but understanding what is “correct” or not and how to fight with boxing rules was challenging for me. I had to overcome adversity and keep working hard as I always did. As the years went on, I was able to adapt and fight. Even though I didn’t have a huge amateur career, I was able to be successful with 25+ fights and winning the 2019 Chicago Golden Gloves.”
The fact is that his amateur days proved his actual ability and love for his profession. In his boxing career, from the amateurs to the pros, he has succeeded in winning fights and understanding different boxing techniques. Winning and staying healthy and safe after getting out of the ring is a massive achievement for someone like him at this young age who didn’t have a big team like the rest of the boxing community or a big sponsor supporting and backing him up.
Mario Herrera has set a standard, proving he is one of the country’s top young boxers. He has an undefeated professional record with nine wins and seven knockouts. Such a remarkable career certainly deserves to be praised and recognized. He aims to make his community proud of him by becoming a world champion. For Mario, boxing is everything. He understands how crucial it is for him to nail every opportunity he gets and become an inspiration for every aspiring athlete!