Outside the Ring: Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia

By Jill Diamond on March 24, 2016
Outside the Ring: Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia
“I came back fighting hard in the third, fourth and fifth rounds to finally finish him off.”

“I want to inspire people and one day I want them to tell me, because of you I never gave up on my dreams…”

Sports and Philanthropy: A series of articles dedicated to those who’ve given their all and still give more. Each article will feature a different community champion; no belts, no medals, no ratings… just good people passing it on.

Daniel Valdivia, Boxer: Powerful. Hungry. Skilled. Diligent. Passionate.

Daniel Valdivia, Person: Friendly, Spiritual. Gracious, Compassionate. Charismatic.

What are the qualities that create a great boxer? Are they the same elements that produce a great person? Clearly, history has taught us this isn’t always true. Most boxers will tell you that boxing isn’t a choice; it’s a calling. So, is the ability to accomplish devastating wins, then step outside the ropes and be caring a calling, too? In Daniel Valdivia’s case, it is, and a well-chosen one. Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia is likable. And it seems to come to him as naturally as his exciting boxing style. 

Daniel has proven that a good guy can also be a good fighter. So far, he’s impressive, and his star is beginning to shine clearly over California’s boxing horizon. So can a good guy be a great boxer? We’ll find out more on May 20th, when once again he enters the ring, and puts his fine heart and his fierce fists on the line.

At what age did you start boxing and why?

I started boxing when I was 10 years old. The reason I began boxing was because of my older brother Santiago Valdivia. He loved boxing and decided to take me with him to a local boxing gym in Visalia, California.

Growing up, who were your role models? Who inspired you?

My oldest brother Victor is a person of many terrific traits as a human being. He’s hardworking, intelligent, humble and most of all very giving to those who have less. A person and fighter that inspired me growing up is Oscar De La Hoya. I admire and look up to Oscar De La Hoya, a person I had the privilege of just meeting a couple of days ago for the first time in my life since I began boxing. I met him. The WBC they gave me the wonderful experience of meeting my idol. I have learned so much from Oscar, not just as a boxer, but as a person outside the ring as well.

Given your natural talent, how important is the right trainer?

The right trainer for the fighter is crucial. The coach must bring out the best in the fighter. They both must have a good bond together, and they need to get along very well.

Is there a difference between trainers who work with amateurs as opposed to pros?

Yes, the difference is that a professional coach is exposed to the prizefighting world which is much different than the amateur world, where the athletes fight for a record, recognition and a trophy as opposed to a financial gain in the professional fight game. A professional coach teaches you to be more relaxed in the ring, to make sure every punch counts and is landed with power. An amateur coach wants you to land a punch and move fast to avoid any punches, and there are only three rounds as opposed to 12 in a professional prizefight.

A fight you’d like to be ringside for?

I would love to be ringside for the possible fight of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez against Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin.

A fight you’d liked to see?

I would like to see Oscar Valdez vs. Abner Mares.

What does your family think about your career?

My family really supports me in my career. They believe I was born for this and that I am just a magnificent athlete that can go all the way in the sport. They also know that with all the glory I can receive there could more problems as well. My family also tells to me that I must always give it my all and work hard to become the best possible version of myself. They know there are risks in the sport but they also know that you must always do what you love. Why? Because we have one life and we must strive and fight for our dreams.

Why did you decide to turn pro?

I decided to become a professional fighter was because it was in my heart. I love competing and showing everyone what I can do. I have a dream of becoming a WBC middleweight champion of the world. With hard work and dedication anything is possible.

What was the first pro fight like ... the transitional moment? 

My first professional fight was in Laredo, Texas. It was a nervous yet exciting feeling. I had no idea what could happen that night. I was confident in my ability but for all I knew, it was just a dream that I was stepping into the ring as a professional fighter. The transitional moment was the first time I was hit. It was much different from the amateurs. The gloves were much smaller. There was no headgear. I knew it was a very serious battle and that I had to be super alert and avoid any damaging blows.

Who picked your fight name?

My boxing nickname was given to me in Laredo, after my professional debut win. I was so happy and excited that I kept jumping up and down out of pure joy and excitement. I simply could not believe what had just happened it was a dream come true. So then the fans started chanting “chapulin…chapulin…chapulin…chapulin…” and I asked my brother what are they saying and he said, “I don’t know but you just keep jumping.” It was then certain that my nickname was now set, “El Chapulin.”

What are the obstacles facing young fighters?

In this modern day of prizefighting a boxer can easily be influenced by the wrong people or person. IF they are not signed to a good promotional company they will have many problems obtaining consistent professional fights. That can discourage them and may cause them to want to leave the sport behind.

How important do you think marketing is to a fighter’s career?

I believe marketing in a fighter’s career is very important. You want to capture the world and the eyes of so many. So we must share with the world our story and market ourselves to the best of our ability.

Who’s on your team?

The people on my team are Nancy Rodriguez, my public relations manager; my brother Victor Valdivia, my manager; my brother Santiago Valdivia; my co-manager; my trainer, Junior Palafox; and my best friend and assistant trainer Eddie Romo.

A difficult fight?

A difficult fight I had definitely had to be September 26 in Lemoore, California, for the vacant NABF Junior super welterweight title. The opponent’s name was Jeremy Ramos. He had a record of 9-1 coming off five straight wins in incredible fashion. All the pressure was on me. I was fighting in my home in the central valley on national television for a title. The fight was not easy at all. I had to really bite down on my mouthpeice and go get the win. In the second round I dropped my opponent but he had the hunger to win and came back and dropped me in the same round. I came back fighting hard in the third, fourth and fifth rounds to finally finish him off and knock him out in the sixth round of a scheduled eight-round bout. It was the happiest day of my life. I had won the NABF title on national television in front of hometown crowd.

What is a typical day like?

A day in my life can consist of so many things. Boxing training sessions began at 10 am and conclude at 1 pm daily followed by strength and conditioning at 4 pm with my conditioning coach Charles. The day is concluded with evening runs. But my day can vary depending on media events. Sometimes, my sponsors want me to make a appearance at their events. There could be in person interviews and radio talk show interviews. With all these things going on I must still find time for my training sessions.

You chose to attend the birthday party for Angelina, a young girl who was orphaned, that you’d never met. Why?

The birthday party for Angelina was very special. She was simply so happy with her huge teddy bear with a Team Chapulin shirt on it. Her grandparents were very happy to have me there. The table was set up with all the gifts and were given to the Cuellar family. Their faces were priceless. They love boxing and for all the gifts to be given to them it was just a beautiful moment. When I gave her the teddy bear Angelina was so happy that later that day she called me superboxer. I was just privileged and happy to be able to be there on behalf of the WBCares for a great cause.

Why did you give up so much time from training to give back?

I love giving back because the position I am in today is not always guaranteed and I must give back to the kids, to the people in need. My heart just feels very happy and at peace when I can make a child’s day or anyone’s. Everyone deserves to have a smile on their face. To me, giving back is very important.

What would you tell young athletes about community service?

I would tell them that they are very crucial and important because you want the people behind you to also know you don’t only want to succeed in your career but you want to make a difference in your community. And the people around you are most likely going to follow your in your footsteps. They listen to you, as a role model and athlete.

Tell me about one particularly moving moment, where being a boxer made a real difference?

Being a boxer had a huge impact on my life was when I set up a booth and did a training session at my church in Tulare, California. After the kids saw me train and all my belts and videos, they were just completely in awe. I was their superhero. That’s when I realized that I can make a change and difference in the world for the better. I want to inspire people and one day I want them to tell me, because of you I never gave up on my dreams.

Who do you fight for?

I fight for my family. I owe them everything in this world. I want to make them very proud of me. They are my motivation.

What will you do after the last bell has rung?

Boxing has helped me meet so many awesome people. I believe boxing has been a train that will lead me to what I need to do when the the final bell has rung. I am a college student; and although I am not fully enrolled in college anymore, I soon will be back to graduate. I have a full career ahead of me and all I can think about is being the champion of the world. Every day I wake up that’s all I can think about.

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Danny Valdivia vs Jeremy Ramos Full Fight 2015

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