No longer a victim
By Ray Kilgore

Boxing is an odd sport in that it can ask both the professional and amateur similar questions: How hard are you willing to push yourself? What's your inner strength? Are you able to keep your self-esteem despite setbacks? The sport is more complicated when teens are involved because not only must they contemplate these questions, but they must address other issues as well. But as Alex Luxby prepares for his bout May 6th at the Jr. Olympics in Naytahwaush MN, he's in a good position because not only isn't he worried about hypothetical questions, he's no longer concerned about being the victim of abuse.


Meet Alex
On the day of the interview it's thundering and raining hard outside and this is ironic because Alex Luxby has the type of intensity that can only be the result of personal storms in his life. As he works the heavy bag, Assistant Coach Pat Jones tells him, "Alex this is the guy that wants the story on you," but Luxby continues to work the bag with great intensity. "Alex!" Jones calls out louder, "this is the boxing writer," at which point Luxby looks, but turns his attention back to the bag.
After several more minutes working the bag, he gets into the ring and hits the mitts with Coach John Johnson. As he does this, you can't help but think: 'What normal teenager would go through this?' After all, Luxby spends two hours an evening at Rice gym pushing and testing his physical and mental abilities to the limit. But there's a strange feeling that Luxby likes coming to the gym- no make that he loves coming to the gym!
After his workout, he gets a drink of water then paces back and fourth as if he's getting ready to box an opponent. He looks tense, and upon closer examination, he's the type who carries his tension and stress in his shoulders. "What's the interview for?" he finally asks in a voice that's far mature than his 15 year old looks. After the purpose of the interview is explained, he wastes no time, "Well I'm ready when you are," with body language that suggests if the interview doesn't happen sooner than later there will be no interview.

Tired of getting beat up
Luxby says by the 1st grade he attended five different schools, but that was small compared to what he had to endure while there. The 154 ponder reports he was bullied on a daily basis, and didn't have the skills to defend himself. Although he didn't go into great detail, Luxby probably experienced emotional symptoms that left scars. A child who's bullied by peers suffers in many ways: There's physical pain if they're hit, there's isolation if no one understands or comes to their aid, there's anxiety of knowing they will have to face the bully each day, and there's rejection because the victim often feels they have no friends.
In addition to being bullied, Luxby also had to content with his parents' bitter divorce. Luxby lived with his mother in Texas for a short time, but moved back to MN to live with his father whom he currently stays with now. He didn't talk in detail about his parents' divorce, but it's clear the two adults ended things on a bitter note. Although Luxby, the only boy out of three step-sisters, had little control over his parents' divorce, he had power over if he would allow the bullying to continue.
Learning to box
Luxby says he went to his father and said, "I got to learn to fight" after deciding he had enough of the bullying. At the age of 12, Luxby went to Rice gym and not only learned to defend himself, but picked up the skills of boxing. He indicates he has 31 bouts, and placed 3rd at the Sliver Gloves last year. He says his boxing style is a natural counter-puncher, but Pat Jones adds that Luxby is also equipped with: "good aggression, speed, and stamina."
But his most cherished skill is his ability to remain calm before bouts. The stoic face boxer who enjoys playing the guitar and likes Blues music, says his calmness before bouts is partly due to knowing he has trained to the best of his ability, "When I am not here training, someone else is [training] and he's trying to whup me. So that's why I train as hard as I do." He adds, "I got my first bloody nose here [at Rice gym] but I keep on trying to be the best."
The 10th grader, who admits to not liking school, says his current boxing goals are to do well May 6th and advance to the Regions in Iowa later in May. He's already thinking about his future in the Golden Gloves, and his long term boxing plans are to be a world champ, and if that doesn't work, he'd like to attend college and study business and tie that into promoting pro fights.
Final Bell
Although Luxby's overall mood was less tense as the interview progressed, there was a feeling he refused to let his guard down completely; however, it was evident that no one will take advantage of him the way the bully did, and it's safe to assume that he enjoys a good joke now and then, but this time, he's laughing with peers verses them laughing at him.


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