Home Boxing News Adam Fiel: Fighting for Something Bigger

Adam Fiel: Fighting for Something Bigger

Boxing aficionados from Vacaville to Bangkok know the name Adam Fiel, despite the fact that the promising young super featherweight has about one minute of professional experience under his belt. Fiel, the only fighter to spend time competing for both the United States and Filipino National teams as an amateur, was something of an amateur superstar given the length and level of success he achieved in the unpaid ranks. Given his credentials, many boxing fans probably wondered why we had not seen Fiel in the pros sooner. The story behind that decision is one that sheds some light on the type of individual Adam Fiel is as a man and only creates more expectations on the type of boxer he could potentially become.

Fiel (1-0, 1 KO) of Vacaville, California was originally slated to turn professional in the middle of last year, but did not make his long-awaited debut until this past July 20th with a 58-second destruction of Francisco Solis in Roseville, California. When you hear of out-of-the-ring distractions and fighters, you tend to automatically think about the tabloid-type pitfalls fighters often face in the public eye. What kept Fiel out of the ring until recently could not be more different, though tragic in a different way.

“My grandmother has multiple sclerosis,” Fiel tells 15rounds.com. “I stay with my grandma and grandpa, so that prevented me from turning pro sooner. Since she was diagnosed she has been slowly deteriorating, especially her motor functions. My grandfather is a little older than my grandmother, and she has trouble walking and sitting up, basically just functioning on a daily basis, so I took off work for a while and everything to take care of her and give them a hand for about three months. I have been living with them now for about nine months, but I am back to work and back to boxing. Everything is kind of in order.”

Fiel’s grandmother Freda Fiel is the pillar of the Fiel family as the mature beyond his years Adam describes. “She is kind of what drives the family and a huge motivation for me,” says Adam. “I am very close to my grandmother and I see her every day.” Adam’s grandfather Carlito met Freda after coming to the United States from Manila in his early 20’s. Carlito soon found work picking grapes in a field that was overseen by Freda’s father.

Carlito Fiel grew up in the Philippines and took to the sport of boxing like many of his countrymen. “His boxing was they would wrap up their hands in cloth, get out on the street and fight everyone in the neighborhood,” says Carlito’s son Chris, Adam’s father. “Then go to every other barrio and do the same thing.”

As a young boy, Adam would hear about his grandfather’s time fighting in the streets of the Philippines. “I know he was boxing for at least three or four years, but I don’t think he got any pro fights or even amateurs,” says Adam. “I think the fights back then weren’t exactly sanctioned fights, but he was telling me they had referees, but he didn’t have a book and they didn’t keep track of their fights or anything like that.”

When Carlito noticed his grandson Adam was being picked on by his older brothers one day, he decided it was time to impart some of his boxing knowledge his 10-year-old grandson so he could defend himself against his siblings. “I am the youngest,” Adam recalls. “Both my brothers are older. They used to really pick on me when I was younger. They would beat me up, accidentally threw me down the stairs, which I ended up having a scar from. My grandpa would say, ‘You can’t let these guys pick on you. Stand up for yourself,’ type of thing. Then he showed me how to box and later took us three all to the boxing gym. I started to get better and really started to like it. They eventually began to not pick on me and I got to spar with them and get my revenge.”

Adam began to develop his skills and by 15-years-old was making a name for himself on the national level in amateur boxing. “When I was fifteen and went to Nationals, I took third place,” recalls Adam. “I think I only had like 14 or 15 fights. My grandpa and grandma came to that one and it was kind of a big deal for them to see that. It started locally. You have to win the local regionals, then the state and they were really surprised to see what I could do at that age and I was too. The people had a lot more experience. At that age, that is what you compare yourself to. If they have more experience you think they might win. But I did really well and from then on I kind of took it more serious.”

All along the way, Carlito would keep his keen boxing eye on his young grandson. Even as Adam began to rack up the amateur accolades, eventually making the U.S. National Team and later the Philippine National Team, his grandfather was not sold on his grandson becoming a professional.

“He’s more critical of Adam, and especially about turning pro,” says Chris. “He wanted to see knockout power, a knockout punch, and that’s what he always talked about. He would talk to Adam about the difference between a finesse fighter and a knockout artist and about how you need to have both. He was basically telling Adam that if he didn’t have knockout power, than he should probably just finish up school. But after that first fight, seeing what he did, he is now on the fence. My dad is just a real pessimist.”

Both Carlito and the ailing Freda made it out to see Adam’s pro debut and will be in attendance when their grandson goes for win number two against Bell, California’s Carlos Iguera Gonzalez next Saturday, October 12th back at the Placer County Fair & Events Center in Roseville, California. In many ways Adam’s debut was a bittersweet moment for the family.

“There was always a lot of debate within our family about this all happening because Adam had a lot of potential for a lot of other things,” reveals Chris. “My brother-in-law is a physician in New Orleans and Adam was pretty much offered the keys to whatever he needed. If he wanted an education, he could have had that paid for…all doors opened. For him to choose boxing over education was really rough within the family, because education is 100 percent guaranteed. With as much time and effort that has been poured into this, he could have graduated already. These are the things that are being said to me. So it was very difficult. But of course, I gave him the support when he decided this is what he wanted to do. And in the end, we all got behind him.”

Every time Adam Fiel enters a ring, whether it is for an official fight or just a sparring session intended to improve or hone his skills for an eventual battle, the young fighter carries his grandparents into the squared circle with him. It is a driving factor that undeniably helps shape the fighter Fiel has become and is still becoming. “I want my grandmother to see me succeed before anything happens because this is a disease that will take away her train of thought and her memory, so it is hard,” says Adam. “But it is something that pushes me.”

Whether she is aware of it or not, Freda is still teaching her grandson life lessons every day. “She has taught me to appreciate my body because I can walk and I can move and I can get stronger and she’s not being able to,” says Fiel. “Seeing the contrast between that and getting older makes me want to do the most I can with my talent and my ability. It makes me want to train harder and be the best that I can with boxing. It makes me really want to strive for my dreams because I never know what’s going to happen.”

Life, and healthy life, is always shorter than what we think. This is something Adam Fiel has been able to grasp at a very young age due to his grandmother’s ailment. It is a lesson that fails to sink in with more than a few young fighters, but it is one that has help create one of the most driven young boxers the local scene will have seen in a long time.

“She wasn’t expecting to get hit with that disease and she has a lot more that she wanted to do,” says Fiel of his grandmother. “We’ve had very frank discussions and she wants me to do everything I can. She told me as well, she appreciates me wanting to help her, but she doesn’t want me to get stuck. She says, ‘I am not going to get better, you can do something still. You are still young. Don’t waste your time here.’ She sort of said that to me and it is hard because I see her every day and she’s not getting any better, but there is nothing I can do right now. But it does really push me.”

On October 12th, both Carlito and Freda will be in the front row. In her wheelchair will be Freda, Adam’s inspiration and in his ringside seat will be Carlito, Adam’s harshest critic. Both are pushing their grandson to success.

Tickets for the October 12th event, promoted by O.P.P., are available online thru this coming Sunday at www.15rounds.com/showdown or by calling 925-208-1086.