Everlast, the preeminent brand in boxing since 1910 and the world’s leading manufacturer and licensor of boxing, MMA, and fitness equipment, has unveiled the new class of elite athletes celebrated in Be First, a global campaign challenging consumers to carve their own path to success. Following its first iteration launched last year, Everlast has tapped trailblazers in the fight sports community and beyond as the new faces of the campaign, including Patricio Manuel, the world’s first professional male boxer who is transgender; Jinji Martinez, the only above-knee amputee fighter to ever beat a fully bodied person; and the Balderas family, growing from humble beginnings in Oaxaca, Mexica to undefeated prospects. You can view the full press kit here.
The campaign is modeled after the well-known boxing term “Be First,” which is associated with dictating the pace of a fight by making your opponent follow your lead. The Be First campaign embodies this concept, challenging people to carve their own paths, and dictate the pace of their life, goals, and personal journey. With equal parts emotion and physicality, the boxing community embraces a risk-it-all mentality and a whirlwind of emotions ranging from passion, intensity, and overall love for the community. By shedding light on the stories of Patricio Manuel, Jinji Martinez, and the Balderas family, Everlast continues to inspire a diverse, global community to do things their own way, with a spirit of strength, dedication, authenticity and individuality.
Would you throw away being one of the best female boxers of all time, to finally feel comfortable in your own skin? That’s what Patricio Manuel, the world’s first professional male boxer who is transgender, had to decide. As a female, Manuel was a USA National Amatuer Boxing Champion, who fell into depression after a shoulder injury during the Olympic qualifiers. This injury and depression were a defining moment for Manuel, who began transitioning from female to male during recovery. Manuel was the first to fight through many obstacles on the road back to the ring: his trainers and gym abandoned and shunned him, and he pushed to get the boxing commissions to recognize regulations on transgender people within the sport. After a six year journey of reclaiming his identity and fighting for what he believed in and the sport he loved, Manuel made history on December 8, 2018. He climbed into the ring at the Fantasy Spring Resort Casino in Indio as the first transgender male boxer, and climbed out victorious. Manuel is dedicated to striking the notion that people should fall into restrictive boxes of identification and inspiring others to be celebrated when they fight against those norms.
What happens when your lifelong dream is stripped from you? That’s what happened to Jinji Martinez, who always knew he wanted to be a boxer and started training at the age of 10. That dream was well within reach at the age of 19, when Martinez was scheduled to make his professional debut. However, a horrific car crash two weeks before the fight shattered those dreams and his leg. After battling deep depression and adjusting to life as an above the knee amputee, Martinez began training hard and learning new stances to find balance with his missing leg. He couldn’t ignore his love of boxing, so he joined an amputee boxing program in Texas and was instrumental in growing the league. Martinez soon became the first and only above-knee amputee to ever beat a fully able bodied person under USA boxing rules. Martinez is using his disability to show the world that there is no such thing as losing – there is either giving up, or pushing yourself to beat adversity.
The Balderas Family
How does a Mexican immigrant raise a family of fighters? That’s what David Balderas had to figure out in the 1960s when he left Mexico for California through the Bracero Program, picking strawberries in fields morning to evening for less than a dollar per filled crate. Back in his hometown of Oaxaca were his sons Zenon Balderas and David Balderas, living in a home made with a cardboard roof lathered in grease so the rain would roll off. When the program ended in 1964, he decided to stay to continue building a life for his family in the U.S., sleeping in ditches within the strawberry fields and hiding from immigration. He eventually saved enough to move his entire family to California, squeezing nearly 30 family members in a small home, all of whom worked the strawberry fields and other odd jobs to forge a new life. Today, Balderas is the grandfather of first generation Mexican American brothers Karlos Balderas and Jose Balderas (both are undefeated prospect boxers). The two brothers joined the world of boxing as a way to channel their aggression after several school fights, initially trained by their father, Zenon, and uncle, David. They soon discovered their passion and success in the sport and decided to take it more seriously. It didn’t come without sacrifice – they spent days running car washes, selling chocolates, and finding local sponsors, just to compete. In order to send Karlos to the Olympics, his father sold his car, while his grandfather sold his gold heirloom watch. Despite not winning at the Olympics, he has proven himself as an undefeated boxer with eight knockouts. Boxing afforded him the ability to buy a house for his family on the strawberry fields his grandfather once worked in.
For more information, please visit www.everlast.com.
The preeminent brand in boxing since 1910, Everlast is the world’s leading manufacturer, marketer and licensor of boxing, MMA and fitness equipment. From legendary champions Jack Dempsey and Sugar Ray Robinson to current superstars Dustin Poirier and Deontay Wilder, Everlast is the brand of choice for generations of world champion professional athletes. Built on a brand heritage of strength, dedication, individuality and authenticity, Everlast is a necessary part of the lives of countless champions. Based in Manhattan, Everlast’s products are sold across more than 75 countries and 6 continents.