KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Alexis Ramos first laced up a pair of boxing gloves as a three year old and started dreaming of becoming a ring champion - even though his father was extremely hesitant about allowing him to fight.

At age 24, Ramos, a member of the 212th Combat Support Hospital on Miesau Army Depot, is now reaching for Olympic boxing gold.

Currently training with the Army's World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colo., Ramos, who is a specialist, is preparing for the 2007 USA Boxing Olympic Team trials being held in Houston later this month.

"It's wonderful and means a lot to me because my dad also boxed for the Army, and I'm following in his footsteps," said Ramos, adding that he still doesn't know why his dad initially didn't want him to become a pugilist. "Now, he doesn't want me to stop,"

His dad, retired Sgt. 1st Class Rafael Ramos, will be ringside to cheer for his son in Texas, where officials will name eight boxers to represent the United States for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

Ramos, who competes in the 119-pound bantam division, has "a good shot," said Bob Bigelow, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's community recreation director. "He's a very sound boxer - keeps with the basics and has very quick hand speed."

During his 20 years of Army boxing experience, Bigelow recalls only one other garrison fighter making the Olympic trials: Ray Mercer, the heavyweight gold medalist at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

Ramos believes being a Soldier-boxer, like Mercer, gives him an advantage, "as the Army team has some of the best coaches in the world."

For example, Ramos' coach at the Armed Forces Boxing Championships - where he caught the attention of officials - was Basheer Abdullah, the 2004 Olympic head coach for the USA boxing team.

During the armed forces event, held in San Antonio in March, the Army took the team title with nine Soldiers winning nine out 11 title bouts - including Ramos.

He's hoping that his winning streak in Texas continues all the way to China.