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Ladue high schooler bobs and weaves through boxing ring

Gabriel Ponce is a biology student by day and a boxer by night.

LADUE, Mo. — Friday night in St. Charles at the steel shop, it's boxing time. Eleven fights, including one who isn't your typical boxer. 

Ladue High School off Warson Road has likely produced its fair share of doctors, lawyers and successful people in business. 

Then there's 16-year-old sophomore Gabriel Ponce. 

He likely could be successful in those fields, after all, he's a hard-working student with a 4.0 GPA and took the ACT when he was in the eighth grade. 

But, he wants to do something else. When he walks down those steps at Ladue, he's not going to the library. 

"I don't like to lose," Gabriel Ponce said. 

And he hasn't. 

This 130-pounder has a record of 2-0. But, he's in a profession where many of the people he competes with are boxing "lifers" who have fewer options in life. So, could they be hungrier? 

"To be honest I am going to be working just as hard, if not harder, than them. You know, I just don't like losing," Gabriel said. 

His trainer is his father Jose, who has trained boxers for 20 years and boxed himself. 

"It's not the environment that you're in, it's what you have inside. He has a killer instinct, that's without a doubt. He's going in there and he's a trainer as hard as anybody out there that comes from different backgrounds or different environments of life," Jose said. "But, he puts the time in just like everyone else that works in this gym. He puts his time in." 

Gabriel will definitely be the only Ladue High School student who made the National Honor Society who on May 5 will be in the ring boxing in front of nearly 1,000 people. 

"What do you hear from your friends?" 5 On Your Side's Frank Cusumano asked. 

"They never expect it, honestly I'm a little more on the quiet side. In school, I don't really talk that much. So whenever I tell people I'm a boxer it definitely shocks them," Gabriel said. 

And what about his father allowing him to enter a sport that can be dangerous? 

"I train him exactly how we train all the pro fighters I've trained in the past. I always look out for their safety just like I would have my own son," Jose said. "And he happens to be my own son. I look out for his future are well, not only inside the ring but outside the ring.

Gabriel Ponce, nicknamed "El Tigre." Biology student by day and a boxer by night. 

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