FORT BLISS, Texas -- In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fort Bliss Soldier Pfc. Maximino Ramos fought for his country; now he is just one competition away from fighting for his country with Team U.S.A. Boxing in the London 2012 Olympics.

"It's like a dream come true," said the combat engineer for Company C, Sustainment Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. "I've been chasing this dream for so long. I never thought I would be here -- not in a million years."

At the end of the month, Ramos is scheduled to represent the U.S. Army in the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships on Fort Carson, Co., which qualifies athletes to compete in the final international Olympic Qualifier.

It has been a long journey for Ramos, who began boxing at age seven, but all of his hard work has paid off and brought him the opportunity he has now, said Pfc. Chasity Funseth, intelligence analyst for Intelligence and Sustainment Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division.

Ramos started his road to the Olympics when he won the All-Army Boxing Trials, Jan. 21. The 19-year old fighter outperformed 40 other boxers to win the gold medal. Two weeks later, he competed in the Armed Forces Boxing Championship and qualified to try out for the Olympics.

"I felt both nervous and confident," said Santa Ana, Calif., native. "It's definitely a lot of pressure -- the crowd is there and those punches hurt. If you get hit with one of those punches, you could just black out."

Luckily, Ramos was on the giving end of a majority of those punches and won most of his matches decisively.

The matches were judged using Olympic boxing rules, which work on a point system different from championship boxing. Competitors are awarded points for every punch landed to the opponents face or body, and judges decide clean hits by pressing a button. If the majority of judges press the button at the same time, a point is awarded.

"If you connect a good shot, it's a good feeling," he said. "The entire time the crowd is loud, but once you connect a good punch they all get quiet -- all you can hear is silence."

Ramos is now refining his skills and training at Ft. Carson to acclimate his body to the altitude before the big competition. He only has a few more weeks to prepare, so he spends every day training to his fullest.

"Every day I wake up in the morning, it's just an honor to not only represent my country, but to defend it," said Ramos. "It's a lot of responsibility, but I'm proud to be in the U.S. Army and I'm proud to be fighting for the Army as an athlete as well. It's something I like to do, so I'm going to keep doing it."

Page last updated Mon February 13th, 2012 at 00:00