Lightweight contender, Ray Beltran, is fighting for more than a chance at a world title, he has been fighting for his right to stay in a country he has called his home for almost twenty years. Beltran went into his recent fight against Jonathan Maicelo needing a win to help with his application for a green card, to show that he is deserving of the “extraordinary athlete” status needed to qualify for the EB-1 green card. Not only did Beltran win, he won impressive and has cleared a major hurdle in his quest to continue providing a better life for his family.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Ray Beltran, I discuss with him his recent win from this past weekend and get him to break down the key moments from the fight. Ray also talks about his journey in and outside of the ring, discussing his desire to get his green card and also talks about the struggles illegal immigrants face now. Additionally, Beltran talks about the lightweight division and about some of the matchups he can see for himself in the future. Here is what Ray Beltran had to say.
Jenna J: Ray, you fought just this past weekend and scored an impressive knockout, can you talk a little about your performance?
Ray Beltran: It was a good fight. Maicelo was aggressive and had a little bit of an awkward style, but I saw a lot of openings. He was opening a lot and I really felt that it was a matter of time before I started landing my shots, and thank God that it came out good and clean, sooner than later.
Jenna J: In the first round the referee called a knockdown that shouldn’t have been called. How much did that frustrate you?
Ray Beltran: It didn’t really frustrate me, it was too soon anyways. I’m not the type of fighter that gets frustrated if things get difficult. I just stay calm, relaxed and never lose my focus. I knew it was a head-butt, and the first thing I thought was to get up and get him back and don’t show signs that I was worried. But I felt confident and didn’t worry about anything. It was the first round and I knew it was too soon.
Jenna J: The shot you landed put him out cold, what were you thinking in that moment?
Ray Beltran: That’s a punch that we practiced in the gym, we kind of had the vision that it was going to happen like that because we saw that he opens himself a lot with his hook. I fainted a jab and threw a hook instead of it, and it came out good.
Jenna J: With this fight it proved that you are an elite athlete and it will help with you getting a green card. What does that mean to you?
Ray Beltran: It means a lot, not just to me but for my family. I’ve been here for almost twenty years and I’m planning on staying here, my family has a better future here. I’m making my dreams come true. We don’t have a green card yet, but it kind of secures my possibilities. It’s still up to immigration to make the last decision if I qualify or not, but it kind of secures my possibilities.
Jenna J: We live in times where people aren’t as welcome as they once were, as the president is not the most kind to people south of the border. What do you think of the current climate that we are in?
Ray Beltran: I think there’s a lot of ignorance about people who come from the south. I don’t know anything about politics, it’s not about politics or Donald Trump, but I think all the illegal immigrants contribute a lot to the economy of the United States. I’m proof of that, we’re not criminals, we’re not coming here to commit crimes, we come here looking for a better life and better opportunities.
Jenna J: Do you see yourself as a good role model for young people who are in this country who are fighting like you to get green card status?
Ray Beltran: Yes, I really work hard because I want to inspire others. I want to inspire other people to do things right and work hard to make their dreams come true. I hope people know my life story and get inspired by it, and keep reaching for their dreams and never give up.
Jenna J: What do you think of the lightweight division and the fighters in the weight class?
Ray Beltran: I think it’s a really good weight class right now. Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares are the best fighters right now in the lightweight division, and those are fighters on my list, they’re the main champions I want to fight. I think any championship is great, but a fight with Linares or Garcia is way more interesting for the boxing fans. I want to fight the best, that’s my goal. This is why we made this fight, for the four sanctioning bodies, because none of them want to fight me, so we have to make them.