My roots come from Mexico and the Apache reservations of New Mexico on my mother's side, and from Clayton, New Mexico, of Spanish descent, on my father's. Mom and Dad are Colorado natives.

I come from a family of five siblings. We grew up in the Westwood area, which is predominantly Latino, until I was in fifth grade, then we moved to unincorporated Adams County, which was mostly Caucasian.

Talk about culture shock, prejudice, you name it.

Through it all, our parents taught us to be proud of who we are and to excel in school. We all graduated though we had to keep fighting every day to prove that we do belong and we are part of this country. We love our country as much as the next American. Right after high school I enlisted in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged. 

I was a boxer in my teens, a former state champion, and was invited to an All Comers Camp at the U.S. Olympic Center.

Twenty-six years ago I became a boxing coach, and since then I have coached 23 national champions and many state and regional team champions as well as a couple of USA Boxing National Teams.

I became the first Latino AIBA International Referee Judge for the Four Corners and Colorado regions back in 1999.

Over the past six years as a pro boxing referee and judge for the WBC, I have refereed over 35 world-title fights. I also refereed the first- ever World Boxing Title fight in 2008 in Chen Du, China. I have traveled to over 15 countries.


Being a Latino to me is showing that anything is possible and any young man or woman can be what they want to be in the classroom or out in the world.

If a Latino American from the Westside can do it, so can you! This is what I have preached to all my boxers from my Denver Police Brotherhood Youth Gym, where I serve as the head coach. Four of my boxers are in college right now, with a couple more ready to graduate from high school this year. My own children, Tyrone, Al, Gina and Angela, have all graduated from college.

I am one proud Latino, and I thank God every day for my Mom and Dad to have inspired that in me. Never give up!

Stephen Blea
Head Boxing Coach Denver Police Brotherhood Youth Team.