Boxing NewsRobby Rahim GonzalesWorld Qualification 2

Rahim Gonzales: Chasing His Olympic Dream and the Magic Number of Three

by Luke Santangelo

The city of Las Vegas, Nevada is home to some of the greatest boxing matches in history. Stars are produced in the city of Las Vegas in all sports, especially boxing. Andre Ward, the last male gold medalist for USA Boxing back in 2004 is also native to Sin City. 

Emerging from Las Vegas is Robby “Rahim” Gonzales who was inspired by Ward and is determined to etch his name in history; not just qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, but to end the USA Boxing male gold medalist streak. 

Unlike many, Gonzales is on his third attempt at qualifying for the Olympics. Where many American boxers would have gone pro by now, Rahim is determined to achieve his childhood dream of becoming an Olympian. 

Gonzales’ story began with his mom taking him to boxing weigh-ins at fights when he was growing up. Gonzales was seen watching old tapes of boxing icons, including Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, as his mom was watching boxing fights on HBO and HBO After Dark. His mother and father raised him with tough love and always had high expectations for their son. They could see the special talent in him from a young age. 

Gonzales started making a name for himself at the national stage for USA Boxing. In his first run at the Olympics, he fell short with a bronze medal at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing. Gonzales couldn’t hurdle third place. He kept placing third at national events and was losing interest in Amateur boxing, so he considered turning professional. However, his dad told him third is the closest number to one. 

Rahim Gonzales World Qualification 1 (Photo by USA Boxing)
“My dad said three should be my favorite new number,” Gonzales stated on his dad's motivation to keep Rahim pursuing his Olympic dream. “Three is the closest number to one because both numbers are odd. Ever since then, three has been my magic number.”
Rahim Gonzales

Gonzales made the decision to stick around for a shot at the 2020 Olympics, as he aspired to compete in Tokyo. He started to break past the bronze medal barrier and won his first tournaments at the 2018 Western Elite Qualifier and 2018 USA Boxing National Championships. 

Gonzales continued his dominating run from 2018 to 2020 and won the 2020 Olympic Team Trials for Boxing, and was planning to represent Team USA in Tokyo.  His time had come. Now all he had to do was qualify at the continental Olympic qualifier in Argentina. 

Then, COVID-19 struck and athletes' dreams from all over the world were being delayed, including Rahim Gonzales. The Qualifying tournament in Argentina was eventually cancelled, leading to Olympic quotas being distributed based on an international ranking system. Unfortunately, this put an end to Gonzales's chance of going to Tokyo.

“I felt lost,” Gonzales stated after finding out he wasn’t going to get an opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. “I looked back and couldn’t help but think I might have wasted four years of my career.” 

With so many emotions running through his head, Gonzales was set on going professional. He felt his time with amateur boxing was done and he was ready to make the jump to professional boxing. However, after his grandmother passed away, he decided to dedicate one more run at Olympic qualification to her. Gonzales also felt his resume wasn’t good enough to go pro yet, so he decided to stay for the 2021 World Championships in hopes of medaling.

Well, Gonzales did more than that as he went on to win a World Championships gold medal. With his confidence rising and knowing his recent accomplishment was one he could build upon, he decided to stay for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

Rahim Gonzales Wins Gold at Worlds (Photo by USA Boxing)

Gonzales became one of Team USA's leaders and most successful boxers. He went on to win gold at the 2022 AMBC Elite Championships, bronze at the 2023 Czech Grand Prix, and gold and Most Outstanding Boxer Award Winner at both the 2023 Gee Bee International Tournament and the 2023 Strandja International Tournament.  

Fast forward to 2024, Gonzales was challenged with adversity as he had to overcome two unexpected losses in the first two Olympic qualifying events.

“Everything I went through in my years, I learned to just keep going, never quit,” stated the 80kg Team USA representative. “No matter what you go through just keep going. You will get what you want but weirdly and it won’t always be the time you want or expect it to happen.”
Rahim Gonzales

Gonzales said he keeps his mind in the present moment now. He doesn’t plan and just goes with the flow of things. He is coming off a great performance at the 2024 USA Boxing International Invitational where he beat two qualified Olympians and won the silver medal. 

He continues to gain self-belief and is enjoying himself in the ring more. Gonzales now prepares for his final chance of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Gonzales will look to place top three in Bangkok, Thailand, and secure this lifelong dream of his.

But when we go back and look at the run of Rahim Gonzales the number three catches his eye. Whether it is fate or destiny, or however you want to take it, Gonzales doesn’t think it is a coincidence. 

Rahim Gonzales's magic number is three. The number three has a rich history in sports. In his third and final opportunity of qualifying to Paris, he will be representing Team USA in Bangkok, Thailand and he plans to punch his ticket on June 2.

“It’s time to Brady and Mahomes this shit and clutch up and qualify,” Gonzales stated on his final chance to qualify to Paris.
Rahim Gonzales