Jose Ibarra has never known anything but hard work, and the will to be successful.  At only 12 years old, the young boxer was wise beyond his years, and even at that tender age, was putting to work the lessons imparted to him by his father, mother and older siblings.  As he worked in the gym, and worked in the tobacco fields, he could hear his father’s voice saying “Your outcome is a direct reflection of the work you put in.” Like many young fighters, Ibarra was sacrificing many of the trappings of childhood - dances, playing with friends, extracurricular activities, but unlike many of his gym brethren, he also spent his summers working with his family in the fields for 12 hours per day.  


Ibarra first walked into a gym at seven years old, following in the footsteps of his brother and cousins.  With his father away for work for months at a time, Second Round Gym became a second home for the young man, and his coach, Derrick Reed, like a second father.  A first generation American, Ibarra gleaned a strong work ethic from his parents, and put that to work in the boxing gym, winning fight after fight, and learning life lessons in and out of the ring.


It wasn’t always easy for the featherweight fighter.  At his first regional outing, 14 year old Ibarra was dropped by a larger opponent with many of his friends and family members watching, losing the bout by knockout.  He considered quitting - the embarrassment was a low point for the popular pugilist. It was his older brother, six years his senior, who convinced him to return the ring, reminding him that failure is easier to stomach than regret. Ibarra would go on to win 25 consecutive bouts, including a Bronze Medal in the 2014 Junior Olympics.


The young fighter was only 19 when he found out he would be a father. Putting boxing on the back burner so he could be financially prepared for his daughter’s arrival, Ibarra found himself feeling sluggish, and missing a piece of himself.  He returned to the ring when she was seven months old, with a new sense of purpose, and a focus he’d not experienced prior to becoming a father.


Ibarra would make his professional debut in August of 2018, with Coach D still in his corner, alongside his brother. Ibarra punished his opponent Jose Berberena, another debut fighter, for only one round before the outmatched Berberena opted not to come out of his corner for the second round. Gardner Payne, of Payne Boxing, saw the fight, and the two connected.  Team Ibarra would grow by one, and Payne Boxing added another excellent prospect to its stable.

After a brief stint out of the ring, Ibarra is on the road to a comeback as of November 2020 and is expected to return to the ring in the coming months.


“I don’t care if you have better skills, if you’re faster, stronger or have triple the amount of fights.  We all have the same tools - two arms, one head, one
body, two legs, one heart one brain… Whoever has more will, whoever is willing to outwork his opponent, he will win.  Nobody has the will to go as far as
I will to win.” - Jose Ibarra


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