Unbeaten at 12-0 and currently ranked as a top-100 bantamweight boxer by the International Boxing Organization, Ángel “Pillado” Hernández is rapidly fighting his way into worldwide recognition. But without the help of Mauricio Madero, none of what he’s accomplished would have been possible.
Pillado was raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, where, like most kids his age, he loved to play soccer. That was until he turned 10 years old and a boxing gym opened in his neighborhood’s community center.
“I first decided to join out of curiosity about the sport. I never really intended to box professionally,” Pillado said.
Over the years, Pillado became determined to make boxing his career, taking any opportunity he could to train in the gym. Growing up, his family struggled to make ends meet, so he picked up part-time jobs as a janitor and trash collector to support his training. And when he wasn’t working, he was taking amateur fights, looking for his first big opportunity in the boxing world.
As fate would have it, the night he won a local tournament in 2017, Mauricio, a boxing promoter with 2M Promotions and Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee with the Groupo HEMA restaurant division, was in attendance and walked away impressed with his performance. The two connected after Pillado’s fight where Mauricio offered him a sponsorship in his boxing career and a job at Buffalo Wild Wings.
“He is a young athlete that has had great results as an amateur boxer. He just needed a little bit of support to help launch his career,” Mauricio said.
“He trains extremely hard, and I know that one day he will be a world champion.” Mauricio Madero, Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee
Pillado took Mauricio up on his offer, and within a year and a half, Pillado has won all 12 fights that he’s competed in. He’s also continued to serve as a cook at Buffalo Wild Wings without ever taking a break from training.
“I’ve always wanted to help my mother, and right now I support her whenever possible thanks to my job,” Pillado said.
At just 19 years old, the boxing prodigy has big plans for his future. He’d like to eventually enroll in college to study kinesiology while also rising as an internationally ranked boxer. Above also else, he wants to continue to support his family. Thanks to opportunities presented by Mauricio, all of that is now possible.
“No one else would have supported me this way,” Pillado said.
“Mauricio and Buffalo Wild Wings give me the freedom and support to keep training and fighting. I’m really grateful for that.”