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Boxer prepares for Olympic trials at Matlacha Wellness Center

September 18, 2019
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Ever since the Matlacha Wellness Center opened in 2013, owner Tim Shevlin's goal has been to offer the widest range of holistic services possible. Many locals have visited the center for physical therapy, massage therapy, personal training, rehabilitation and pain management.

Carlos David Arce is different. Arce is a professional boxer from California who is working with Shevlin to be physically ready for the 2020 USA Boxing Olympic Qualifying Eastern Trials beginning on Oct. 5 in Columbus, Ohio.

Arce, at 37 years old, has been kick-boxing since he was 12 years old.

Article Photos

Tim Shevlin, left, and boxer Carlos David Arce.

PHOTO PROVIDED

"That's when my life changed completely," Arce said. "When I was in 6th grade, I was a chubby kid with low self esteem. My schoolmate Bobby used to beat me up every day and because we were in homeroom, first, second and fifth period together, I couldn't escape his wrath. I remember crying in the back of Mr. Grossman's wood shop class. I felt so helpless and alone."

Then, in the summer of 1992, while watching the summer Olympic games, Arce watched boxer Oscar De La Hoya win a gold medal.

"Oscar De La Hoya was a hero to every Latino kid and this event changed the whole direction of my life," Arce said. "It was that very image of Oscar smiling with a gold medal around his neck that will be imprinted in my mind for the rest of my days."

Like De la Hoya, Arce wanted to pursue the Olympic dream of becoming a gold medalist for the United States.

"I found my way to get to my Olympic dream through boxing," Arce said. "The first opportunity came in 2008 when I was ranked 6th in the United States, and the second opportunity was when I was part of the US Virgin Islands national boxing team for the 2012 Games."

"I didn't know how it would ever happen but I knew I wanted to be at the Olympics," Arce said. "I was also sick and tired of being bullied so I prayed to God to help me."

Arce said his prayers were answered the day he met Gerry Blanck, who owns Gerry Blanck's Martial Arts Center in Los Angeles.

"Gerry was a father figure to me and taught me how to use my hands," Arce said. "Gerry introduced me to the world of kickboxing, martial arts and boxing. Because of Gerry and his studio, I became a confident and athletic 6th grader who was no longer bullied."

Martial Arts changed Arce's life. After joining the club he earned a second degree black belt in Yoshukai karate and earned a full-ride scholarship to UCLA. Arce graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in French and Spanish. He now translates for the United States government.

According to the International Olympic website, "A coach plays a key role in an athletes' entourage. The quality of the relationship between a coach and the athlete has a crucial effect on the athlete's satisfaction, motivation and performance."

With the help of the International Olympic Committee, Arce found an Olympic coach at the North Fort Myers Police Athletic League and signed on with Tim Shevlin at Matlacha Wellness "to build some muscle and learn how to be a trainer."

"Carlos is here to build some muscle and upper body strength," Shevlin said. "First we will concentrate on shoulders and then on arms. It's all about attitude and commitment and Carlos has a great personality and commitment and I know he'll be ready to compete in October."

"2020 is my final opportunity to pursue my dream," Arce said. "The Olympic committee raised the age from 34 to 40 which will allow me to compete for the last time. I joined boxing as a way to find happiness and purpose in my life and whether I make the Tokyo Olympics or not, happiness, inner peace and wisdom are my gold medals."

 
 

 

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