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Korean American boxer Eric Priest brings the representation


SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Korean American boxer Eric Priest’s dedication runs deep. He is training for his next fight at the Churchill Boxing Club in Santa Monica. The middleweight boxer grew up in Kansas City as one of the only Koreans in his community.

What do you want to know

  • Boxer Eric Priest hopes to break down barriers in the sport
  • Priest came to love the sport after facing racism in Kansas City and venting his frustrations in the gym
  • Now in Los Angeles, the middleweight boxer is undefeated, with six wins
  • Priest’s next fight is scheduled for March 17

“At home, I had to adjust to Korean culture, you know, having a Korean mother in charge of the household,” Priest said. “And then, on the outside, I grew up in Kansas City, so it was kind of a culture change every day.”

Changing culture on a day-to-day basis was one thing, but changing Priest’s mindset was another. He faced racial discrimination from an early age, which resulted in pain and frustration. But he credits boxing with providing both physical and mental refuge.

“I would be pushed around, and just racist comments here and there,” he said. “Stuff that pissed me off more than anything, and I’d just take it out to the gym.”

And that outing to the gym led Priest to a rising career as a boxer. He is currently undefeated, with six wins and an Adidas sponsorship backing him up. He said he wanted to break records to make his Korean community proud because seeing Korean Americans in the ring is a rarity.

Priest’s trainer, Pedro Neme from Argentina, loves empowering a diverse team of fighters.

“Everyone has a different DNA, a different style of boxing, and I have to adapt to everyone and try to take advantage of what they bring,” Neme said.

Proudly representing his fusion of American and Korean ancestry through a tattoo on his arm, Priest – who works out with world champion Ray Beltran – said the sport has given him purpose, resilience and strength mental.

“Boxing taught me to learn to overcome things,” he said. “Even if you think mentally that the world is collapsing on you, it really isn’t. You just have to keep moving forward. You don’t really know your limits mentally. That’s all you just have to tell yourself. preset.”

Priest’s next fight is set to take place on March 17.