Sports

Former Olympian Shawn Estrada steps back into ring

Boxer Shawn Estrada arrived in town Wednesday a hungry man.

Hungry to win. Hungry to make a name for himself in professional boxing.

The 2008 U.S. Olympian hasn't fought since August because of knee surgery.

"We came to Texas to make a statement," said Estrada (13-0, 12 KOs), who faces Terrance Woods in a super middleweight fight as part of ESPN's Friday Night Fights. "It's time for me to get back in the ring and show everybody what I'm made off."

Estrada's eight-round fight with Woods (9-3, 6 KOs) is the featured undercard match Friday at UT Arlington's College Park Center that culminates with the main event, a junior welterweight bout between Mike Dallas Jr. and Miguel Gonzalez.

Estrada is the son of Juan Leon Estrada, a member of the Mexican Olympic team in 1968. Estrada fell short of his bid for an Olympic medal during an emotional Beijing Games, when his father died after a long illness.

"It was tough," Estrada said. "I remember warming up in Beijing and they told me. I wept like a baby. We didn't medal like we wanted to, but we got there."

You ran for city council in Commerce, Calif., last year. Why? I wanted to give something back to the community. Unfortunately, I didn't win, but I got a lot of experience. I was a little too young. I got some more time. Maybe, I'll commit to it.

Was your father a big influence? Everybody knows boxing is a poor man's sport, it's a hard business and cutthroat. He didn't want us to do that. But I wanted to be in the gym, so we put a goal together and said, 'let's do the Olympics.' We accomplished that. My dad used to be in my corner. ...Now that he's passed on, I know he's still in my corner.

What's your scouting report on Terrance Woods? I know he's a runner, but I'm well trained and prepared to go eight rounds. Whatever dogfight it is, I'm ready for it. I'm not just a pushover. I know he knows that. I came to go eight rounds. If a knockout comes, it comes. Terrance is a worthy opponent; he'll come prepared.

What was the hardest punch you've ever taken? Tony Hirsch. He took me the distance, six rounds. He had never been knocked down in his career. In the first round, I put his butt down.

The Golden Gloves will be in Fort Worth next week. What advice do you have for amateur fighters? [People] said I couldn't make the Olympic team. I ran to Mexico and made the team there, but I didn't like the Mexican team. I didn't feel right. I came back to the U.S. said, 'You know, I'm an American boy. I was born here. I'm an American; I want to represent my country. I'm not going to run from nothing.' Many people said you can't make it. There's never been a Mexican middleweight make the Olympic team. Well, I did it. My advice to young fighters: Don't accept 'I can't' or 'You can't.' Believe and you will make it with hard work and dedication.

In 20 years, what will people be saying about Shawn Estrada the boxer? I want people to be saying, 'That Shawn Estrada was a bad dude.' I'd love that.

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