Issac Cuellar is only 11 years old but his boxing experiences are quite impressive – he sports a 10-0 record, he’s won a national title and he’s met Mike Tyson.
The meeting took place earlier this month at the Ringside Lounge restaurant in Jersey City, organized by Cuellar’s dad Jim and Mario Costa, owner of the Ringside and longtime friend of Tyson.
“Mario invited us over,” said Jim Cuellar. “We were there, the kid’s all excited, he loves Tyson. Ten minutes later Tyson walks in the door with his wife and baby. It’s overwhelming, it really is. I grew up watching all his fights, hoping one day I’d be lucky to meet him myself. And my son got to meet him too.”
Tyson is known for being helpful with boxers, no matter what level they compete at. “He gave awesome advice,” says the father. “He said to stay focused and always listen to your father, don’t be a follower, be a leader. And stay out of trouble. It was nice of Mario to call me, to invite me over.”
Cuellar had shown Costa a photo of his son with his championship belt and that apparently impressed Costa to phone him when Tyson came to town. Tyson regularly visits Jersey City when he is in the New York area.
Isaac says he studies Tyson videos. “When I was a little kid I watched his video knocking people out. I was amazed and I liked his style.” The boy who has won the Ringside national title at 65 in Kansas, kept his cool though when Tyson shook his hand and complimented his achievement. “It was incredble. He was big and he looked strong. He said I worked hard to get the belt.”
Isaac remembers Tyson’s advice too. “He said to work hard and stay focused and always stay sharp and listen to my parents.”
Isaac Cuellar, who trains at the Hackensack PAL under trainer Alex Rodriguez, says he likes boxing because, “Anytime I come back from school I can go to the gym and do things in the gym, so I stay off the street and a get a good education.”
Isaac’s favorite part of boxing? “Getting in the ring is my favorite part. I like fighting in the ring because I like fighting different people so I can get better.”
His favorite boxers to watch? “Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Shane Mosley and Pacquiao.”
He favors the Pac Man to beat Cotto. “I think Manny Pacquiao will win. Because he’s a strong fighter and he has a good style and he has fast hands.”
His best moment in boxng so far? “The best moment I ever had was the Ringside. I worked hard and I made the finals and I won. It made me so proud. And I got the Ringside belt. And the Desert Showdown, two belts.”
Cuellar has met many boxing champs and celebrities already, including Monte Barrett, Riddick Bowe, Lou Duva, Omar Sheika, Hector Camacho and says he looks forward to meeting Mike Tyson again. “He’s a strong man and a very nice person. And I hope I can meet him again someday. I want to do pads with Tyson.”