Six-time national boxing champion Meryland Gonzalez of Watts is a born fighter.
After overcoming a serious illness as a young child, she now spends every day training in the ring.
“I do this because it’s my passion. I love fighting,” she told KTLA.
The straight-A student, who has already fought in the Junior Olympics, hopes to one day represent the Unites States in the Olympics.
In addition to her family in her corner, she also has the support of mentor, LAPD officer and fellow boxer Juan Bustamante.
Bustamante and Gonzales met through “Operation Progress,” an organization that pairs volunteering police officer mentors with youths.
A fund to help Gonzalez compete in the 2019 Junior Olympics has been set up online.
Kimberly Cheng reports for the KTLA 5 News on May 24, 2019.