How boxing helped Cain Sandoval discover a peaceful world

Cain Sandoval hopes boxing can show him a better world than the one he sees every day in the violence of Sacramento, CA.

On April 6, 2021, six people were killed on the streets of Sacramento, California in a so-called “The State.” Shootout on K Street. There is evidence that the shooting was gang-related. Gang wars are an emerging problem in Sacramento, but one that has been around for a long time. Lightweight boxer Cain Sandoval has grown up surrounded by Sacramento’s violence his entire life.

“Yes it is [viloence] become normal for me,” Sandoval told FanSided.

Sandoval is only 19 years old, however boxing has given the young fighter a positive outlet in a world surrounded by chaos.

Sandoval started boxing at the age of six. His uncle got him into it, but Sandoval’s family has a boxing heritage.

“But since I was about five, my father has been telling me that his grandpa used to box,” Sandoval said. “My aunt used to box and my father used to box. It’s really just in my blood to be honest.”

Sandoval grew up in a rough part of Sacramento, but boxing helped keep him grounded, motivated, and staying out of trouble. It also exposed him to a world outside of the one he was used to seeing on a daily basis in his hometown.

Cain Sandoval attempts to win 6-0 against Daniel Evangelista Jr. on Friday, August 5th

“I started traveling for national tournaments,” Sandoval said. “And I’ve seen other places as they are. And I think wow. There’s more outside of Sac. I’m so used to it, just like the ghetto. And then I see out there, oh, we have these tournaments with everybody. You are trying to win this tournament. And I figured there’s more to life than just Sac.”

Traveling to boxing tournaments allowed Sandoval to see other parts of the US that were not engulfed in violence. He realized how boxing could take him out of his cruel environment and thus began his ambitions as a professional boxer.

Sandoval did well in over 100 amateur fights and dreamed of boxing in the Olympics, but the politics of boxing were not on his side.

“You know what amateur boxing is like,” Sandoval said. “Fight in a guy’s hometown – it’s a close fight – you won’t get the fight. In national tournaments I feel like I’ve dominated. Directly dominated and they will go the other way and I think me, my family, my team are really sacrificing a lot of things to be here just to finish like that.

While Sandoval also missed the age limit to qualify for the Olympics, he was already disenfranchised by the bias he experienced from judges at major tournaments. At 18 he decided it was time to turn pro.

Sandoval has done well since turning pro in August 2021. He has won all five of his fights by KO. Sandoval enters the competition on Friday, August 5th at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento.

Sandoval’s opponent is Daniel Evangelista Jr. (20-14-2, 16 KOs). Evangelista has won more than she has lost and has double-digit KO wins.

Evangelista’s primary weapon is experience. He has fought Tito Mercado, Hank Lundy, Isaac Cruz and Argenis Mendez. He didn’t win those fights but did compete in elite competitions.

Sandoval sees this as his moment to challenge himself more in the ring.

“Yeah, that’s the first real step for me, to be honest,” Sandoval said. “That’s how I see it.”

Sandoval has had a solid team ranging from his coach to his manager. He’s realistic about the business and knows he needs to win big to get the attention of a big promoter in order to one day get the kind of fights that can make him a star.

“When I went to Nationals I was like, oh yeah, Top Rank will pick me up right now, or this manager will pick me up right now,” Sandoval said. “And when I turned pro I just like it, it’s like a slow grind. You know, maybe one day they’ll pick me up.”

Sandoval hopes a well-known promoter will spot his work in the ring. He is committed to it and will do anything to become a better boxer.

Until then, Sandoval is still surrounded by the harsh reality of Sacramento, but he knows what lies beyond the city limits and wholeheartedly believes that boxing is his means to living a better life in a safer place. How boxing helped Cain Sandoval discover a peaceful world

John Verrall

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