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"It's a family thing," says boxer Lamont Roach Jr., sitting next to his teammates D'mitrius Ballard and Kevin Rivers Jr.
He is talking about "NoXcuses," one of the top boxing clubs in the country, located in Capital Heights, Md., which hosts budding professionals and community kids, giving them free boxing classes and training. Many of them use the programs as ways to stay off the streets, and Lamont, along with relative Bernard Roach, the founder, make sure they compete in national competitions.
"The ones that box and stay in the gym, they're something like little brothers," Roach Jr. says.
Roach Jr. is also talking about the boxers sitting beside him on a recent trip to Redskins Park. The three of them all had similar entry points into boxing – their fathers and family members had experience in the ring before them – and they've been together for the last five years.
They've also all grown up in the DMV area, which means they were born as Redskins fans, which is why they admire their surroundings walking into the lobby, later appearing on "Redskins Nation" with Larry Michael.
"We've got all the games on TV. We've got five TVs, just for NFL Sunday," Roach Jr. says, describing what game days are like. "And then you've got the Redskins on the big TV."
The three of them talk over each other only to emphasize the same points. They eat lots of food on Sundays, they participate in their own fantasy league and then on Monday, it's back to the gym to burn off their football party relaxation.
"My dad was a great high school football player, played corner back as well," Ballard says. "As soon as I turned six he put me in the pads and I loved it. UCLA and Virginia Tech actually offered me scholarships to play corner."
Ballard turned them down though. As a football star at Friendly High School, where he played a year with NFL cornerback Joe Haden, Ballard, after speaking with coaches and his father, believed boxing offered more promise for progression. "It's not a guarantee I go to the NFL. There's a lot of factors," he says.
Roach Jr., who wore burgundy and gold shorts in a recent match and vows to wear the Redskins logo in his next one, also played football growing up. But when he reached high school, and the size of his teammates became significantly larger than his smaller frame, he realized boxing was the best chance to maximize his skillset.
He and his two teammates chose wisely. Together, the three of them went undefeated this year and they'd like to keep it that way again. Ideally, they'll transition from "prospects" to "contenders" this upcoming year, the next competitive step in their careers.
"We're ready to take on bigger and better challenges," Ballard says.
You can follow NoXcuses Boxing on Twitter here.