Lakes resident Art Cabrera wins in Atlanta Open Masters boxing

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 0 Comments

Lakes resident Art Cabrera wins in Atlanta Open Masters boxing


Art Cabrera is living proof that you’re never too old to achieve your goal.

The 56-year-old Miami Lakes resident, and a teacher at Barbara Coleman High School, recently won the Atlanta Open Masters Division Tournament in conjunction with Sweet Science Fitness Boxing Club in Georgia.

He defeated NBC 6 news anchor and U.S. Air Force Gulf War fighter pilot Willard Shepard in the finals to win the championship.

Shepard, a member of the Florida Bar and a five-time Emmy award-winning journalist, is 60 years old.

The Atlanta Open allows people between the ages of 46 and 62 to fight in the tournament after they have taken an intensive physical examination including a series of EKG’s.

Cabrera and Sheppard fought in three rounds in the finals of the tournament and a panel of three judges declared Cabrera the winner by a split decision.

The two fighters from Miami embraced and congratulated each other following their bout, which was witnessed by former three-time World Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield.

Cabrera, who was given the moniker the Punching Professor by spectators, said he was overwhelmed competing in the tournament and was emotional when he was announced the winner.

He last boxed in 1992 during the Golden Gloves Tournament.

“I felt I reached my goal,” he told The Miami Laker. “It was a tough fight and Willard is a tough fighter. We became friends after the tournament.”

Cabrera said he wanted to fight in the tournament two years ago but had to get approval from an athletic commission in Atlanta.

Once he got the green light, he trained hard, running about 2 miles a day at Tropical Park and sparring with local pro boxer Javier Hernandez for two and half months.

“Javier really worked with me to get me in shape for the tournament,” Cabrera said. “Without him, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Cabrera said he dropped 100 pounds to qualify to fight in the 175 weight class.  

When he traveled to Atlanta for the tournament, he was surprised to see some of his old friends from his native Chicago, family members from Atlanta and former students to cheer him on. “I was touched,” he said. “I was surprised to see my friends and former students there.”

Cabrera said his wife, Rebecca, also played a significant role in his training for the event. “She’s the greatest,” he said. “She really motivated me.”

Cabrera said he was invited to compete next year to defend his crown. “I’m thinking about it,” he said. 

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