STC student on his way to becoming a champion at life
South Texas College Criminal Justice student Brandon Anciso (right) has found a way to connect his educational journey with his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Under STC alumnus Noe Mendoza, Jr.’s (left) mentorship, Anciso has started the Jag Boxing Club to help provide student athletes an outlet to box while balancing the demands of college.
WESLACO, Texas – South Texas College Criminal Justice student Brandon Anciso has found a way to connect his educational journey with his dream of becoming a professional boxer.
The Weslaco native said he chose to enroll at STC because he wanted to stay close to home and was inspired by his father’s career as a police officer for the city of Weslaco.
“I wanted to dip my toes into law enforcement so that’s what drove me to study criminal justice,” Anciso, 20, said. “I would like to work for the federal government someday, maybe in the Border Patrol, but I also have a dream of becoming a professional boxer.”
Anciso said he was involved in athletics throughout his life, notably cross country, but the boxing careers of Weslaco natives Omar Figueroa, Jr. and Brandon Figueroa inspired him to pick up his own gloves at 17 years old. Anciso began looking for a new gym that was affordable and could offer new experiences.
Enter STC alumnus and 2021 USA Boxing National Collegiate Champion Noe Mendoza, Jr.
Mendoza earned his associate degree in Philosophy from STC in 2014 and a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2016. Through the years, he became an advocate for collegiate boxing. When Mendoza began his master’s program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), he was inspired to create a campus boxing club. Club Boxing at UTRGV has seen success in national competitions and Mendoza jumped at the chance to share his skills with the STC community.
“Brandon kind of fell into our arms, so to speak, because he was interested in boxing and happened to attend STC,” Mendoza said. “Every time we (Club Boxing at UTRGV) attend an event we take STC with us.”
When you’re boxing everyone is watching you and you want to win, not just for yourself but also for your family. I appreciate STC and would tell future students to give STC and Jag Boxing a chance. Take your chances and keep believing you can accomplish what you dream.
Under Mendoza’s mentorship, Anciso has started the Jag Boxing Club at STC to provide student athletes an outlet to box while balancing the demands of college.
“They introduced me to college boxing and it’s been an amazing experience,” Anciso said. “I’m getting to travel and meet new people from different parts of the world. I'm also able to make a lot of connections that I'll need later on in life.”
Anciso recently represented Jag Boxing at the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA) National Championships and said he proudly wore the STC school logo at each match.
“Brandon made it to the semi-finals and put up a good match against the University of Michigan, a very established team,” Mendoza said. “There was STC, going against the University of Michigan Wolverines because of Brandon. He was just fearless and even when decisions didn't go our way, he never let that alter his mood.”
Anciso was also recently awarded a $1,000 ‘Books and Hooks’ scholarship from Las Brisas Boxing Club, a community boxing gym started by Mendoza’s father that offers free boxing lessons to local students in exchange for sharing their passing report cards.
“We don't really measure the success of our program through the belts or the trophies, but through the academic progression of our athletes,” Mendoza said.
The next step for Jag Boxing is to find a meeting space on campus to support students as they navigate through their college experience.
“And we don’t only offer competitive boxing; we do recreational boxing and also self-defense seminars," Mendoza said. "It’s especially a way to release steam because I know the buildup of stress toward finals or midterms is real and you can burn out. So boxing is one outlet that we use to help students release some of that energy in a safe environment.”
Mendoza, who will begin law school this August in Dallas, said he is excited to watch Anciso inspire the next group of leaders as he continues to build the program.
“I told him it’s not only about what you're currently accomplishing, it’s also about thinking ahead and planning for students five, 10 years down the line,” Mendoza said.
Anciso says he is up for the challenge.
“It’s challenging but at the end it’s rewarding,” Anciso said. “When you’re boxing everyone is watching you and you want to win, not just for yourself but also for your family. I appreciate STC and would tell future students to give STC and Jag Boxing a chance. Take your chances and keep believing you can accomplish what you dream.”