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Meet the Mexican Volleyball Player Who is One of College Volleyball’s Biggest Stars

Meet Samantha Bricio. She’s the best volleyball player in Mexico.

Help us wish Samy a very happy birthday today! #FightOn #FelizCumpleanos #HappyBirthday #picoftheday #USC #TrojanFamily

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She was only 16 years old when she was called up to play for Mexico’s National Volleyball team.

samantha-bricio

The 6’2″ outside hitter from Guadalajara, Jalisco is also one of the top collegiate players in the United States.

She was playing in a tournament with the Mexican national team in Arizona when she was spotted by USC coaches, who recruited her to play at USC.

Bricio, who is now in her senior year at USC, is known for being a ferocious attacker…

High-flyin' Samy with the kill out of the back row. #FightOn #uscwomensvolleyball

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With a jump serve that’s hard for most players to handle.

Credit: USCAthletics / YouTube

Despite her prodigious talent, Bricio’s early days at USC weren’t much fun.

WATCH: Chicharito Can’t Hold Back the Tears When Talking About His Family

Bricio says she was having a difficult time adapting to life away from her family and friends.

bricio-interview
Credit: Telemundo

“I would cry almost every night because I felt so alone,” said Bricio in an interview with Telemundo. But she said her parents snapped her out of it: “I actually almost quit after my first season. I felt alone here, so I wanted to go home. But my parents didn’t let me.”

But Bricio stuck with it, and was eventually named Freshman of the Year by Volleyball Magazine.

Now, she’s the ALL TIME leader in kills at USC.

Meet USC's new career kills leader – @samybricio #FightOn

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What are kills? In volleyball, it’s basically like scoring points.

Not only is she winning awards and breaking records, she’s inspiring other Latinas and Latinos who play volleyball.

She was even honored by the Los Angeles City Council for being an inspiration:

Bricio, who was recently given a send off on USC’s “Senior Night,” still has some unfinished business…

#FightOn seniors! We love you! #SeniorDay #uscwomensvolleyball Photo: @rekon_jmk

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She’ll try to lead the Trojans to her first NCAA Championship in December.

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He’s Been Called The Greatest Latino Boxer Of All Time And Panamanian Boxer Roberto Duran Might Just Prove His Case In This Documentary

Entertainment

He’s Been Called The Greatest Latino Boxer Of All Time And Panamanian Boxer Roberto Duran Might Just Prove His Case In This Documentary

robertoduranbox / Instagram

No one can deny the impact Latinos have had in the sport of boxing. The rough upbringing of many young men from the region has led trainers and managers to generate a vast quantity of world champions. Names like Julio Cesar Chávez, Ricardo López Nava, Felix Tito Trinidad, Alexis Arguello, and Carlos Monzón bring tears of joy to fans from countries as diverse as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Nicaragua. Boxing champions encapsulate the dreams and aspirations of young Latinos. Because it is often the case that in our continent governments fail the population and each person has to fend for themselves, boxing has become a metaphor for individual progress amidst the most adverse circumstances. 

Roberto Durán is one of the most iconic boxers from Latin America to embody the fighting spirit of Panama.

Credit: Instagram. @robertoduranbox

Panamanian legend Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán broke into the Latin American and U.S. mainstream pop culture due to his volatile personality and the brutal precision of his fighting style. Now retired, Durán is again in the spotlight due to the release of the documentary “I Am Durán,” directed by Mat Hodgson and which features other personalities such as Oscar De La Hoya and Robert De Niro, a big fan of his.

So before you watch the documentary, here are some facts about the proud son of Panama. Keep your guard up!

He was born on June 16, 1951.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

He was born in Guararé, where his mother Clara Samaniego was from. His father was from Arizona in the United States and was of Mexican descent. 

He was abandoned by his dad when he was only 5-years-old.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

As a way of survival, his family could not keep him in school but rather had to send him to work in the streets as a shoeshine boy. Just like the Filipino great Manny Pacquiao, Durán learned the ropes of life in the streets. That made him hungry for success, a hunger he translated into surgically performed combinations in the boxing ring. 

He laced up the gloves when he was 8-years-old. 

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

His fighting spirit was there from the beginning. He grew up in the slums of El Chorrillo, so he had to learn how to defend himself in the rough streets. He visited the gym Neco de La Guardia as a kid and the rest is history: before they knew it, he was up there in the ring sparring experienced boxers. What a chico maravilla

He began his pro career with 31 straight wins.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Durán got a reputation of being a killer in the ring due to his hard punches, solid body frame and general toughness. He won the lightweight championship against Ken Buchanan in 1972 but lost for the first time that same year against Esteban de Jesus. The fight in Madison Square Garden was his Waterloo. Two years later he rematched De Jesus and knocked him out. It is important to note that the De Jesus fight was his sixth in 1972, so he was worn out. 

He was the first Latin American boxer to rule in four weight classes.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Others would follow (the Mexican greats JC Chávez, Juan Manuel Márquez, and Travieso Arce), but Roberto was the first bad hombre from Latin America to rule in four weight classes. And he did so in a day and age when a world championship was hard to get (in today’s corrupt boxing world there are up to four champions per each one of the 17 weight classes, so being a champ is relatively easier). He also fought many fights scheduled for 15 rounds instead of the current 12. Even though his best years were at lightweight, he rules the following classes:  lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight, and middleweight. 

He made 12 defenses of the lightweight title.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Roberto was practically indestructible for a period of time. He won eleven title defenses by KO and reached a record of 62-1. He gave up the lightweight title in 1979. He basically dominated world boxing in the 1970s with those hands of stone that sent opponents to sleep, one after an another. 

His biggest night: beating Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 for the welterweight title.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

After vacating the lightweight title “Manos de Piedra” moved to welterweight. He defeated Carlos Palomino and Zeferino Gonzales, two tough opponents. Once comfortable in the new weight, he faced the golden boy of US boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard, in a fateful June 20 night in Montreal, Canada. Roberto’s relentless pressure broke down Sugar Ray. Thunder defeated lighting and Durán won by a unanimous decision. 

But then came the infamous “No Más.”

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

After defeating Leonard “Manos de Piedra” became even more legendary. He went back to Panama and partied like there was no tomorrow. The rematch was fought in November. Leonard trained like a champ, while Roberto had to cut weight extremely fast and just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Leonard was magnificent: he played with Roberto, mocked him, slipped the Panamanian’s punches and basically humiliated him. In the eighth round, Roberto turned his back to Leonard and said: “No sigo” (this were his actual words, although the infamous “No Mas” is how the event was remembered. 

He rebuilt his career.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

It would be hard for any sports figure to come back after such a meaningful defeat. It is not the same being knocked out after a valiant effort as quitting. It was such a disappointment not only for the fighter but also for his millions of fans. So what did the great fighter do? What all elite pugilists do: he came back with a vengeance. He defeated Wilfred Benitez and Davey Moore, two of the best fighters in the world.

He is one of the 1980s Magnificent Four.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Boxing in the 1980s was defined by four greats: Roberto, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Marvin Hagler. These four all fought each other and gave fans thrills. Roberto lost to Hearns by KO and to Hagler by a tough decision, but his name will always be attached to one of boxing’s golden eras. 

He fought until 2000.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

It is unusual for a fighter in this day an age to compete across four decades, but Durán did it. His professional debut was on February 23, 1968, and his last fight was a loss to Puerto Rican extraordinaire Hector Macho Camacho on July 14, 2000. At the end of his career, his record read 103 wins, 16 losses, and a whopping 70 KOs. Wow, just wow.

The debate continues: is he the greatest Latino fighter ever?

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

That is hard to tell. The main contenders for this mythic title are here in this photograph with him: Mexicans Julio Cesar Chávez and Juan Manuel Márquez, who also faced myriad of champions and former champions over their storied careers. One thing is for certain, Roberto wrote his name on the annals of boxing history in golden letters. And he will never be forgotten.

READ: Andy Ruiz Jr. Might Be A New Boxing Champion But He Doesn’t Start Any Fight Without His Snickers

In One Week This Latina Became Homeless, Her Mom Abandoned Her, Yet She Landed A Huge Scholarship That Changed Her Life

Culture

In One Week This Latina Became Homeless, Her Mom Abandoned Her, Yet She Landed A Huge Scholarship That Changed Her Life

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Anya Sifuentes knows how to outrun adversity. The high school athlete from Northside High School in Arkansas has overcome homelessness and is now on her way to college.

And so much of her success has to do with her strength and determination, key traits of any prime athlete.

Last October, Sifuentes, went home after school to find she was permanently locked out of her own home.

“It was late September that things just started getting strange,” Sifuentes explained in an interview with CBS affiliate KFSM-TV. “On October 1, I went home right after I went after school and realized that I couldn’t get in my home anymore.”

The reason why Sifuentes and her family were expelled from their home is unknown but according to CBS, as soon as she learned the news she went straight to her track coach.

“She called me and she was just distraught,” Jeff Smith, Sifuentes’ track coach told CBS News. “I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ She goes, ‘I’m homeless. I don’t have any clothes. I don’t have a place to go.'”

Sifuentes’ story took a turn for the even worse when her mother told her that she was leaving the family as well.

“My mom started really acting weird and you could tell that she was late on all of her bills and she wasn’t acting the same anymore,” Sifuentes said. “My mom said that ‘I’m not gonna stay with y’all.’ I thought, ‘Why?'”

Left to raise two younger siblings and a nephew, Sifuentes says she realized she had to step up and take things into her own hands. “To think that we’d be separated — I did not like the feeling,” she said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be the same anymore.”

Determined to keep her siblings and family together, Sifuentes took on multiple jobs, got her family into a new apartment and started to sign the checks for bills. This, all while attending classes and going to track practice.

“It just slaps you in the face — knowing that you’re an adult now,” Sifuentes explained in an interview. “You can’t play around now. You can’t just slack off one day because it will hit you later.”

Still, despite all of the stress she had over money and keeping her family together, Sifuentes says she overcame her depression by keeping her goal of being happy in mind.

“I set a goal in my mind. I have a goal to be happy, even though all this is going on and my family doesn’t seem like a family anymore,” Sifuentes said. “I’m depressed and I’m stressed and money is overwhelming right now. I thought to myself, ‘God is the only thing that’s going to get me through all this pain.'”

Running became an outlet for the teen, and eventually, it became her champion.

This past year, the high school senior was offered a scholarship by the University of the Ozarks to run for their team. She signed with them last month and will be headed to their track field in the coming Fall semester.

“I just look back and think, ‘This is who you are. You’re someone strong,'” Sifuentes stated on her impression of herself after overcoming so much. “You don’t give up easily. Even though times get rough, you have to keep going. Even though you fall down, you have to keep going.”

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