Trinity College sophomore, Joseph Orosco, Jr., 19, is the Eastern Collegiate Boxing Association junior middleweight (156 lb.) champion. Orosco has been boxing for two years under the guidance of his coach Johnny Callas at the Charter Oak Boxing Academy (COBA) in Hartford. Orosco will compete in the National Collegiate Boxing Association tournament in Lawrenceburg, Indiana on April 6-8. He is hoping to reach the finals on April 8. Orosco is from Pomona, California, and plans a double major in Urban Studies and Mechanical Engineering.
Johnny 'Coach' Callas has turned around many lives through boxing
Trinity College's Joseph Orosco began boxing as a freshman and finished his first year with a 1-5 record.
In his second season, Orosco went 9-2 and qualified for the National Collegiate Boxing Association's tournament, which runs Thursday-Sunday in Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Boxing is a club sport at Trinity, and boxers train at the new Charter Oak Boxing Association (COBA) gym in Hartford. Orosco is the first Trinity boxer to qualify for nationals and the first COBA boxer to qualify for the event since Tom Barile, now the Coast Guard boxing coach, qualified 23 years ago.
Orosco, 19, qualified March 10 after winning three bouts in the 156-pound weight class at the Eastern Regionals in Lock Haven, Pa. He hasn't had a lot of time to think about what he has accomplished. Orosco, a sophomore, has a double major in urban studies and economics. He had exams before heading to the regionals and is now training for the nationals.
"I guess I can't get a break," Orosco said of his schedule. "But it's also nice, because I did it, I made my goal, so now I'm in a position to take it all the way."
Orosco is from Pomona, Calif., just east of L.A.
"I wanted to come explore the world a little," Orosco said of his decision to attend Trinity. "I'd never come to the East Coast before; I've lived in California my entire life. I figured during my four years in college I might as well go somewhere I may never be again."
He received scholarships that helped him to become the first member of his family to attend college. When he found out Trinity had boxing, he was excited.
"I've always wanted to do boxing or any kind of fighting style since I was a little kid, but I could never afford it," Orosco said.
The plan in the beginning, said Orosco, was to try boxing while he focused on making the baseball team. He played outfield and catcher back in Pomona, but after his first semester of boxing, he fell in love with the sport.
"I didn't want to spend time doing baseball when all that time I could be doing other things and boxing on the side," Orosco said. "There were more options through boxing."
Orosco's boxing coach, Johnny Callas, executive director of COBA, decided that Orosco was ready to compete. Callas said he put him in the ring "relatively soon," despite his inexperience.
Orosco was a quick learner.
UConn boxing coach Mike Campisano, who qualified for nationals in 1990 at Central Connecticut in the early days of Callas' coaching career, could see that.
"[With Orosco] it's night and day," Campisano said. "He has a natural, raw talent. You could tell he just picks things up naturally. He understands the sport so much more now."
Campisano also has a boxer entering nationals for the first time. Freshman Alex Perron of West Hartford will box Thursday in the 119-pound weight class. Campisano's advice to Perron and Orosco is to soak up the moment.
"Go in there and relax, there's no pressure," Campisano said. "If you were a returning national contender then you have pressure to produce. Enjoy the media, take everything in, because next year is the year where you are a returning national contender."
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