Studio City, CA (June 12) Imagine coming to America at age seven, having never worn, let alone owned a pair of shoes in your life.  That is only one of many hardships overcome by brothers Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas on their way to simultaneously becoming World Champions and adored by their fans and the world of boxing.


Having worked the entirety of their young lives in Mexico instead of going to school, it seemed natural for the boys to sell candy door to door after school when they emigrated to Southern California.  Gabriel had stopped to make a sale at the “neighborhood” gym of boxing trainer Joe Goossen, and upon seeing the ring and bags, asked Goossen to teach him the sport.


“I was reluctant at first, because here you have a 13-year-old kid asking for help and I was training professionals so I tried to send him away,” said Joe Goossen of young Gabriel.

Alonzo Strongbow, the #1 Flyweight in the World was there and persuaded Joe to give Gabriel a shot because he ‘saw something in his eyes.’  


Gabriel asked several times if he could bring younger brother Rafael into the gym too.  Joe denied the request on multiple occasions until he realized that he needed someone to spar with Gabriel, so he conceded and the next day Rafael put down his box of candy and came in to the gym.  


“The very first day Rafael joined his brother, we put the gloves and headgear on him and threw him in the ring with Gabriel who gave his little brother a beating, until Rafael just used his natural ability and was able to slip away from several of the punches his brother was throwing,” Joe Goossen reflects.  “I remember Frankie Duarte (top world contender) and I were watching this and nudging each other.  We both knew what incredible talent we had in our gym, and now we had two of them!


“At the time I may not have known it, but I’ve certainly come to realize that this was a very special, once in a lifetime relationship between a trainer and a fighter.  Then to have actually been successful with it, and turn these young kids into two World Champions was extraordinary and I’m quite proud of them.  It’s a team effort on something like this and their dedication and desire to perfect what they were doing was unparalleled.” 


Goossen Tutor Promotions is bringing a prominent reoccurring boxing series, titled “Live at the Lodge” back to the San Fernando Valley reflective of their “Country Club Series” in the 80s which enabled Gabriel and Rafael and many others to hone their skills in becoming World Champions.  The first of these shows will be held June 23 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, Calif. and will be broadcast live on Telefutura’s hit series “Solo Boxeo Tecate.”


Dan and Joe Goossen will be honoring the “Candy Kids” at the inaugural event for their contribution to the sport of boxing and the incredibly inspiring success story of the two World Champion boxers, and their rise from selling candy upon their arrival in America to success in and out of the ring. 


“Little did I know twenty some odd years ago we would be honoring Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas for their achievements in the sport of boxing,” Dan Goossen said fondly. “They were literally selling candy door-to-door in the neighborhood as 11 and 12 year-olds and stumbled across my brother’s gym.  They told my brother Joe they wanted to become boxers and the next thing I know they each became  World Champions.  They have been the benchmark for hard-work, dedication, heart and loyalty for every fighter we’ve signed since.  Even today, I find that the Ruelas brothers are fondly remembered by boxing fans.”


“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition, especially in the valley where we grew up and had so many fights right here at the Reseda Country Club,” said Rafael Ruelas.  “I try not to get too close to boxing and reflect back on my career too often because it brings back a lot of great memories.  I miss the sport tremendously and I’m just very grateful to be receiving an honor like this.”


His brother Gabriel modestly stated, “It is very special to be receiving any kind of award in boxing, especially with so many World Champions who could be on the receiving end.  I think what we had was a special scenario that was so unique because the Goossen’s really took us in.  I didn’t look at them as a trainer and a promoter, they were family.  That kind of loyalty is hard to come by anywhere, let alone in boxing.”


The event will be broadcast on TeleFutura’s hit series “Solo Boxeo Tecate” and promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions


Tickets priced at $103.50 VIP, $52.50 Ringside & $32.50 are on sale at or by calling the Goossen Tutor office at (818) 817-8001.  Tickets will also be available the day of the event at the Lodge.