Yecson Preciado 17
Yecson Preciado 17
Hero:
Yecson Preciado
Writer:
Ian Thompson
Release Date:
June 1, 2022
Country:
Ecuador

What Makes Yecson Preciado An Everyday Hero?

Yecson Preciado was born and raised in Guayaquil, a port city which serves as Ecuador’s commercial capital, but also has the highest poverty rate in the country. He was brought up by a dangerous father who regularly abused him as a child. At just ten-years-old, Yecson had enough and chose to run away to live on the dangerous streets, rather than be beaten by his parent.

He spent two months on his own, before he was adopted by a local family. When his new mother asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Yecson, likely as a result of his violent past, told her his dream of becoming a professional boxer.

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Yecson’s new family helped him pursue his passion by buying him all the gear he needed to get started, and set him up with a boxing coach. He spent the rest of his childhood training with his boxing mentor, Chango, and went into the sport professionally.

Yecson fought some of the country’s greatest boxers and managed to become a local legend, before finally retiring. He now works as a security guard at the Guayaquil port, but can barely feed his family on his meager salary.

How Does Yecson Preciado Make A Difference?

Yecson, like many Ecuadorians, lives below the nation’s poverty line. The country’s economy has been in decline for nearly a decade, and during the pandemic, Ecuador’s  poverty rate surged from 27.2% to 37.6%. 

Despite his own personal struggles, Yecson put others’ needs before his own on a daily basis. In 2014, he opened a boxing gym and has dedicated his life to teach local children how to box, which can be a direct ticket to a better life in the impoverished country.

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The decision to train children to be boxers came after Yecson witnessed police mass-evict an entire makeshift neighborhood on Isla Trinitaria, a community so poverty-stricken that they lack access to clean drinking water and sewage systems. He decided to start a boxing gym to give children facing homeless the opportunity to play a sport that could lead to an exceptional future.

“I train them until the age of 13, then they can participate in a National Game,” he said. “And I have to train them the best I can, because the bad ones don’t go there, only the best ones go. Later when they fight and become champions, only then they get a salary.”

Why Does Yecson Train Children? 

He does not charge his students for the services, nor does he make any money if they become successful, which few of them actually do. He created the gym to be a form of a community center for children facing homelessness, and to become a guiding figure to those who lack stability.

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“I do this because my students become to be like my sons and daughters. I have a commitment to them, and always, the first thing that has to be the boxing school and my kids,” Yecson remarked. “I don’t want to see any children go through what I lived, nor watching a kid using drugs, or to be killed a tender age. Can you picture the youth now? Kids are killed at 18 or 20 years old.”

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What Is It Like On The Streets Of Yecson’s City?

In 2020, homicide rates in Ecuador surged to the second highest in all of Latin America and the Caribbean with 1,357 murders. Yecson’s hometown Guayaquil became the most crime ridden city in the country, and was ranked the 50th most violent in the world by Insight Crime.

Due to a surge in homicides and gang-related crime, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso deployed thousands of military troops to “strengthen control” of the country, and prevent drugs and weapons from making their way onto the streets in early 2022.

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Ecuador is situated between the world’s largest cocaine producers, Columbia and Peru, and both favor using Guayaquil to traffic drugs to the rest of the globe. The country seized 210 tons of narcotic shipments in 2021 alone.

Lasso blamed warring Colombian and Mexican cartels for the astronomical increase in violence. Yecson just wants to keep his students from falling prey to it.

What Is Yecson’s Goal For His Students? 

“[When]  they realize what sports can do for them compared to the streets and drugs,” he explained. “I used to tell them, for example, what would you prefer? Traveling two days with headphones, then you wake up, or do you prefer to be in jail where you could get beaten. What do you prefer. They tell me the sport, then let’s do this.”

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Yecson trains his students six days a week, from the early morning to the late afternoon. At night he works 12 hour shifts as a dock security guard from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. to provide for his family and earn the money to keep his boxing gym open.

He hopes that his efforts will help one of his kids reach an international elite level of competition. “My goal since I started this was to see a student of mine fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada or at the Olympic Games that is my goal,” he said. “I haven’t reached it yet. I am still here at school, moving forward. I will never stop.”   

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Yescon does not charge his students for training at Trinibox. He funds the gym by working 12-hour overnight shifts at the dangerous Guayaquil docks six days a week. He has no mode of transportation, and often goes without eating to keep his family fed and underprivileged students boxing. 

In a country where those in poverty live on less than $5.50 a day, a small donation to Trinibox can make a life changing difference towards the futures of vulnerable child athletes and the man who has dedicated his life to teaching them.

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