TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Kansas-born boxer was honored at the Statehouse Tuesday for achieving champion status, but it was what he overcame to reach the top that packed a punch with those who met him.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation Tuesday honoring World Boxing Council Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz. Ortiz won the World Boxing Council welterweight title on April 16, 2011 against Andre Berto with a unanimous decision and has a career record of 29-2-2.
Ortiz was born in Liberal and raised in Garden City. He and his siblings were abandoned by both parents early in his life. He resorted to selling drugs to feed himself and his siblings. He and his brother spent time in foster care, until his older sister took over legal guardianship of the boys when she turned 18.
Ortiz says he found mentors to help him on his journey and set him back on the right path. He says he kept a positive attitude and vowed to overcome whatever obstacle was set in his way.
Ortiz made the Junior Olympics Tournament at 16 years old, finishing first in his weight class. He turned pro at the age of 17.
“Victor’s story is not only a lesson in the value of positivity — it’s also a lesson in determination, patience and hard work. He exemplifies the spirit of not getting bitter over the circumstances of your life, but rather to channel your energy into making yourself better," Brownback said. “It is my hope that no child in Kansas ever has to face the circumstances that Victor had to. Victor didn’t get bitter—he got better.”
Ortiz now trains as part of Oscar De La Hoya’s stable, Golden Boy Promotions.