Houston welterweight amateur boxer Giovanni Marquez is hoping for a little Deja-vu from his chief coach and grandfather, Arturo Marquez, who guided his son and Giovanni’s father, Raul “El Diamante” Marquez, to a roster spot on the 1992 USA Boxing Olympic Boxing Team.
Raul, who was a 2-time US amateur champion in two different weight classes, welterweight, and junior middleweight, went on to become the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light middleweight World champion, retiring with a 41-4 (12 KOs) pro record.
Rather than turn pro this year, 19-year-old Giovanni remained in the amateur ranks, albeit with a series of goals, first and foremost, to capture a gold medal at the 2020 USA Boxing National Championships, December 5-12, at the Shreveport Convention Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.
“My goal this year is to win the U.S. Nationals and have outstanding performances throughout the tournament,” Giovanni reported. “My long-term goal is to compete internationally and represent the United States at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
“The reason I returned for another year after missing in the Olympic Trials is because I still have a lot to prove on the amateur boxing scene. My team and I decided this was the best decision and I am still very young. My performances in every national tournament I’ve competed in have consistently improved every time. In my last national tournament – Last Chance Qualifier – I faced off with Delante Johnson, the 2020 US Olympic Qualification Team member, and I lost a split decision. Although I lost the fight, I proved that I could compete at the highest level with the top dogs. Now that I’m a little bit older, stronger, and physically and mentally more mature, I’m confident I have what it takes to become No. 1 in the division. This is why my team and I decided to stay an amateur instead of turning pro.
“I’m very excited about these Nationals, excited to show what I’ve been working on and critiquing everyday inside the gym. Winning the Nationals will mean the world to me, as I have put in so much time and effort into this sport. With my experience gained the past few years, hard work and maturity, I am confident a gold medal awaits me in Shreveport.”
A boxer-puncher who makes the necessary adjustments needed to win, Giovanni has the ability to switch from his orthodox stance to southpaw, comfortably and effectively.
Being the son of a famous boxer, naturally, has its advantages and disadvantages. Giovanni is ready to break out on his own, at least to some extent, with his grandfather and grandmother (Yolanda Marquez) working his corner, while his dad sits in the stands watching the action.
“Coming from a boxing family,” Giovanni remarked, “I was always in the gym messing around on the heavy bag while my father was training. The reason I started boxing was because it’s something that was just part of my family’s life. I had an interest to try it out myself and realized I was talented. I fell in love with the sport and haven’t looked back since. My first official fight was when I was 12.
“There definitely are more eyes on the son of a famous boxer. This doesn’t add pressure on me, it motivates me to prove that I am capable of accomplishing the same things my father did like winning national titles. To have a father with his experience and knowledge in boxing is truly a blessing.”
Training during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t really been a problem, largely because his grandfather and father are boxing gym owners. Giovanni did struggle, though, because he worried about his grandfather’s health due to his advanced age and susceptibility to dangerous complications if infected. They’ve stayed healthy by practicing social distancing and properly sanitizing each and every day in the gym.
“Being cornered by my grandfather is a good feeling,” Giovanni explained, “because I know everything he tells me is for my own good. I feel like my grandfather already created one Olympian in my dad, so he has all the right tools and knowledge to do the same with me.
“Not only is he my boxing coach, he’s also a mentor who has groomed me into the young man I am today. My father and uncle also help to train me by working the mitts and helping out with strength and conditioning workouts. Ultimately, it is a good feeling to have my family in my corner, pushing me beyond my limits in order for me to be successful.”
Giovanni Marquez is preparing to establish his own identity.