TROUP, Texas (KETK) – Inside the longstanding Troup Boxing Gym, owner and coach Kandice Vascocu’s coaching style is very hands on.

“We have a good relationship. I’d say we’re close and she’s cool, she’s like a friend and she’s been moving me around, opening a lot of doors for me and her, herself has been doing really good,” said Adrian Salazar, 2023 USA National Golden Gloves Champion.

Her tough love is pushing her athletes like Adrian all the way to winning two national titles.

“He was just naturally good and he would just go and beat people because he was good and I think maybe I was harder on him than other people, but I think he needed it and I think he liked it,” said Vascocu.

Vascocu’s dedication in and out of the ring has allowed her to become a high performance coach in the upcoming Junior Olympics.

“You work with them at a set location in California or Colorado and you basically for a week, for the females and a week for the males to get them ready for any international competition,” said Vascocu.

Salazar said he is proud of Vascocu’s achievement.

“She works really hard, she’s been here for a long time, she’s been everyday coming here, teaching her students, it gives me more confidence in my coach,” said Salazar.

As she enters into a new realm of the sport, the three year coaching journey has been a hard fight.

“It was a hard transition, I’m a woman, that’s already hard to do, to get respect from men and just being a coach is difficult,“ said Vascocu.

She continues to lead by example when times get hard and showing her athletes that achieving the smallest goals are rewarding.

“Seeing them learn how to throw jab line or doing better at sparring or doing better against the south paw, those are things that I like. Now I like winning championships too, but I like both,“ said Vascocu.

Vascocu said that the boxing world is a revolving door, but she wants to be the best she can be for the next generation.

“I need to better myself so I can be the best coach for them,” said Vascocu.

She is continuing to train Salazar for the Olympic qualifiers in December. At that tournament she’ll find out if she’s advancing from a bronze to a silver level coach.