Boxing has a rich history in Mexican heritage. Many boxers have made the transition from local, family run gyms all over the United States and have become successful in the Olympic and at the professional levels.
Growing up in the Landa Rodriquez family, boxing is in your blood. It’s in their heritage and a passion shared by Norma and Jorge Landa Rodriquez and their seven children. It is their dream to open a non-profit based boxing facility in Clinton, IA.
Team Landa consists of Jesse, Angel, Ashley, Elise, Jorge Jr., Frankie & Nina. Last year, Jorge was notified he had won the American Family Dream Camp contest, including a monetary prize. See the video here: https://youtu.be/6MnBHRBg5Us. Jorge and his daughters attended a Dream Camp and had the privilege of training with Al Mitchell, a three time Olympic boxing coach, and also top ranked boxer Mikaela Mayer. This was truly an amazing experience for their family. The prize put them one step closer to owning the gym of their dreams. Upon returning to Clinton, Team Landa continued training where ever they could. Sometimes in church parking lots, public parks and the YWCA during off peak hours. The city of Clinton has always supported them, whether it was a honk by a passing motorist or someone stopping by to talk about what they were doing. No matter how they had to do it, they were going to keep the dream alive. “I love boxing and about the only thing in life I love more is my family. The best part is we are doing it together.” says Ashley.
The second oldest daughter, Ashley Unique Vasquez (Ashley Landa) is a 16 year old USA Boxing amateur with two years experience. Ashley has great aspirations of her own. The juniors champion at 132 lbs. is poised to be a contender this coming April 11th & 12th in Des Moines, IA at the Iowa Golden Gloves Tournament. From there, she would like to make her mark at regional and national tournaments. Ashley now trains with her father at The Del Sol Boxing Club, The Davenport Boxing Club with Pat Peña and Nile Peña’s Peña Boxing Moline. She has also cross trained with the likes of Ultimate Fighter season 19 contestant Todd Monaghan, UFC veteran and current Bellator fighter Eric Wisely and current 3 promotion welterweight champion Mark Stoddard out of Clinton’s ConquestMMA gym. Ashley has concentrated on her striking prowess and her ultimate goal is to continue training hard to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and represent Team USA in women’s boxing.
“My dream is to go to the Olympics, that’s what I’m aiming for, that’s what I’m training for.” Ashley is not alone on her journey. Having the full support of her family means the world. Jorge Landa Rodriquez said, “The Olympic dream is the main dream they have, and their dream is my dream.”
Ashley is confident that her abilities will take her far in her boxing career. “Although, I feel my destiny is in boxing, after I reach every goal I’ve set for myself in boxing, I will conquer MMA.”
Ashley is more than willing to put in the hours of hard work and training. Although her career has had its challenges, she keeps a positive outlook for the future. She doesn’t live a typical teenager’s life. She doesn’t have a cell phone. She doesn’t have a boyfriend or even go out. She says, “I’m not that hard to get a hold of. I’m usually at school, training, church, or spending quality time with my family.”
Ashley has learned that it takes a substantial amount of money to pursue her dreams and she is willing to make the sacrifice. She would like to be able to train more frequently and with higher level boxers and coaches. Taking this avenue will put her in the best position to reach her goals. Ashley and her father have set out to raise funds by creating a kickstarter project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549021960/dreams-do-come-true for anyone who would like to pledge and help support her. Ashley is also actively looking to be sponsored to help offset the costs of chasing her dream.
Photos courtesy of D. S. Studio Photography
If you missed it: Keeping the Peña Legacy Alive
Other boxing events coming up:
April 19 “CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at the BEAR”
**Featured Fight** Corey “Collateral Damage” Rodriguez 9-3-3 3KO Minneapolis, MN vs Limberth Ponce 6-1 4 KO Rock Island, IL
Rumble At The Rock by Peña Boxing Moline
April 26 at 6:00pm, The Rock Party Facility in Coal Valley, Illinois