On May 4, little Destiny West, the child of Jesse and Jennifer West, reaches her first birthday. The birthday celebration will be in Mesquite, Nev., where dad hopes to continue the celebration by winning a Golden Gloves boxing championship a few days later.
In only 18 months, West has achieved an impressive amateur boxing career; one he hopes to take to the professional ranks. In recent weeks the Ogden 205-pounder, who trains at Foley's gym, has won the Utah Golden Gloves title and the Rocky Mountain title. The last win earned the 27-year-old husband and dad a trip to the national Golden Gloves championship in Mesquite.
West, a native of Dallas, Texas, grew up in Clearfield, and attended Clearfield and Northridge high schools. He was a running back in high school football. He has also attended Weber State University. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married three years, although the pair have been an item as far back as junior high, says Jesse.
To support his family, he works full time at Lifetime Products, located in the Freeport Center. In the gym, he spars and works out often with other local fighters, including Craig Mock, Billy Zumbrun, Freddie Martinez, Val Tinajero, and Dre Gonzales.
"I admire a lot of the guys that I work out with here. ... (Boxing) is a perfect way to join a group of other people who have similar goals to you," says West.
The sport is a positive for young people, he adds. Besides the health benefits, it can help at-risk individuals stay drug-free and out of other trouble as well.
Adam Gonzales, Dre's dad, has spent a lot of time training Jesse. "Jesse West has the will to win and the hunger to learn. His best assest in the ring agility and power to effecttively outclass his opponent," says Gonzales.
Dave Foley, who runs the gym and often works in West's corner, said the heavyweight's build and power remind him "of an action figure."
For West, taking up boxing 18 months ago was a positive addition to his life. He counts Mike Tyson as a boxer he likes to watch.
In Mesquite, West will weigh in with other contenders on Tuesday. Then there will be a draw for opening round bouts. He needs to win several fights to be crowned national champion. Along with his wife and baby, his parents will be there to cheer him on.
"I don't think that I have fought to the best of my ability (yet)," says West. He's looking forward to continued improvement. In the past few months, he adds, he's seen his boxing skills improve along with his cardio abilities.
After the Golden Gloves nationals, there are decisions to make. One is when to turn pro. Twenty-seven is a mature age for a boxer, and it's not easy for a heavyweight -- even as an amateur -- to find consistent fights in Utah. Some of West's past opponents are already planning to enter the pros.
Five years from now, says West, "I'd like to be a successful pro." Based on what he's accomplished so far in his career, he'll get the opportunity to continue to move forward in boxing.