BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For many young kids competing with the Kern County Fight Club, they have dreams to make boxing a profession one day, but there are already two older fighters who have made that dream a reality, paving the way for other boxers in Bakersfield.
A city that is known to produce athletes who go on to compete professionally, although boxing doesn't always get that same recognition despite the fact that Miguel Contreras and Alex De Luna are representing Bakersfield in the pro ranks.
"There's a saying in boxing, you can play football, you can play basketball but you can't play boxing, you just go in there and fight," Miguel Contreras said.
One goes by Caveman, the other by Chedda.
One went to Bakersfield High School, the other went to Ridgeview High School.
One is 22-years-old, the other 19-years-old.
One more of a talker, the other quieter.
But they both share a fighting spirit and a deep love for boxing.
"Boxing is my life, basically," De Luna said,
A passion that started young but has developed into two undefeated records.
"From like our group that we grew up with that my coach trained, we're the last two, like, still training is so passionate about the sport and this is amazing," De Luna said.
"I do it for my neighborhood my city I do it for all of that because growing up, it wasn't the easiest bringing up you know I have all my childhood friends, a lot of them aren't here they're locked up and that just drives me each and every day," Contreras said.
That determination launched Miguel into his Las Vegas debut in June. Where he'd not only fight in his fight nationally televised event but also win it.
"That feeling after that win, I broke me I broke down to tears you know so it was definitely worth it," Contreras said.
A victory that caught the eye of prominent boxing promotion companies including Top Rank and Golden Boy.
"Once you sign with a promotion that that kind of like boost your career. Hopefully that falls through and I believe that will. And I'll just stay ready and wait for that date," Contreras said.
While Miguel waits, Alex already knows his next fight, which is set for September 26 in Tijuana, Mexico.
"We've been training off the quarantine, so you know I'm always in shape. I feel ready, ready to fight," De Luna said.
Not much further behind, only two years, he's eyeing the same success his boxing partner.
"He motivates me a lot because I just, he's like setting the path for me and he's a big role model he's always been a big role model in my life. He's like my big brother," De Luna said.
Wherever their careers take them, Miguel and Alex will always share these roots.
"Every fighter dreams of being a world champion one day. And, you know, God willing we get to that point and we're able to both be champions in our own respective divisions. I mean that will do so much for not only Bakersfield, but I think it'll make us appreciate everything more to you know like, man, we started out as the Police Activities League as kids and now look at us."
A boxing brotherhood rooted in Bakersfield.