Building Success Stories at the Jose Morales Boxing Academy

March 27, 2024
The Jose Morales Boxing Academy in Roseville, California, has been revolutionizing boxing since opening in 2016. Open to all ages and levels, the academy helps the local community improve their fitness, health, and boxing skills by creating an environment that’s truly inclusive.
What’s more, the Jose Morales Boxing Academy is generating career opportunities and improving life for people in the community, which comes from the inspirational story of failure to success of Jose Morales himself.
Humble Beginnings and the Road to Success

Jose Morales was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and was brought to the United States undocumented at 11 months old with his sister. The family settled in Sacramento and Jose and his sister were raised by a single mother working three jobs to make ends meet, leaving the children on their own most of the time.

Like many children in similar situations, Jose was exposed to trauma that forced him to grow up at a young age. His sister’s boyfriend was enthusiastic about boxing, however, and instilled that interest in Jose. He fell in love with the sport for many reasons, but one of the most notable is that he felt that becoming a boxer would give him an opportunity to represent his mother, his family, and his people with pride.

Through boxing, Jose was able to channel his feelings in a healthier and more productive way, but he faced many challenges along the way. When he was competing as an amateur, he wanted to participate in a Silver Glove tournament. He filled out the application but had to stop when he came upon a question about US citizenship and his Social Security number, neither of which he had.
Defeated and feeling his dream slip away, Jose adopted a victim mentality. It wasn’t until his boxing coach gave him inspiration to keep fighting, not just in the ring but for the future he’d envisioned.

“Give yourself a nickname. You tell yourself you’re the best boxer in the world. You act like you’re the best, train like you’re the best, but then you go home and you’re no longer the best. You’re only the best in the gym.” the coach said, reigniting the fire in Jose to keep pursuing his dreams.

From Dishwasher to Academy Owner

When he was 16 years old, Jose was offered to coach at the very gym he’d later call his own. He enjoyed coaching for several years while competing in boxing, burning the candle at both ends.


During this time, Jose reflected on what he really wanted to do. Because he grew up without a father, Jose struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a man. For example, he didn’t know how to do anything with cars, so he sought out positions to learn. After driving around to different shops and filling out applications, he finally landed a job sweeping and cleaning a garage, along with some mechanical work that taught him the skills he lacked.


At 20, he got the opportunity to run a small facility. He learned management and all the intricacies of running a body shop over three years, which prepared him for the next step in the process.


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was passed, providing legal protection from deportation to young people who were brought by their parents to the US. Jose was finally able to get his Social Security number and driver’s license, landing him a job at a dealership in the service department as a service manager. The job was great, but he was hungry for more.


During a regional manager meeting, just 23 years old, Jose asked an older team member what they would do to improve if they were in his position. He was expecting answers about how to improve revenue or processes, but instead, he got an answer that would change his life.


The team member told him that if he was in his position, he’d “get the hell out of this and do something else.” That was Jose’s sign to start listening to his heart, which was always in boxing.


A year later, Jose had enough money saved to walk away form his job and find his purpose. He returned to the gym that gave him work at 16 years old, which was ready to close, and they offered it to him.

Starting the Jose Morales Boxing Academy

Having the opportunity to take over the gym was a gift. It already had equipment, a boxing ring, and other amenities. He also taught within that community for three years, already built a network, and was ready to hit the ground running.


Jose’s family was not convinced, however. They couldn’t understand his decision to leave a steady, lucrative position to take a gamble on a passion. He had a bigger vision than anyone, and that’s what fueled his success.


I knew what I was capable of doing, what boxing was capable of doing. When you bring the two together, I knew I was going to make an impact in my community.” Jose had already made himself a success in his other dealership job, but he wasn’t fulfilled or happy.
As it turned out, working at the dealership and learning more about how to run a business, manage a team, and manage people – combined with his passion for boxing – he built a team that would build champions in and out of the ring.


He wasn’t just creating boxers – he was creating careers and futures for people.

Inspiring Others
Ultimately, Jose learned that when you invest in yourself, in your confidence, and other people you believe in, you can accomplish so much more. Others may dream small and believe big dreams are crazy, but if it seems possible to you, there are bigger things ahead.

One of the best aspects of the Jose Morales Boxing Academy is that it’s built around the local community. It’s not just another gym or another coach. It’s everyone working together, smiling alongside each other, and investing in something greater. As Jose says, “I’ve heard a lot of philosophies in my life, but the one I live by – and it changed my life completely – is the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So, give your all to everything you do and it will change your life completely.”


Production Coordinator
Paul Magda
Jose Rodriguez

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