Published On: Thu, Jan 2nd, 2020

16 under 16: Cristian Javier Nonies, Boxing Prodigy Has His Eyes On The Prize.

Author’s Note: For a long time, I have been wanting to create a space where we can recognize young talent that is already excelling in their passion. As we begin a whole new decade, I could not wait to create the 16 under 16 series to raise awareness, gather support and help these young people’s dreams come true.

This young man caught my attention for many reasons but one specific thing that stood out is that he has relentlessly pursued his passion. One of his dreams, aside from being a featherweight world champion is to meet one of his idols, Oscar De La Hoya and let him know in person that he is the inspiration for this journey.

If anyone reading this knows Oscar personally, share this link…

Everyone else please share this on your favorite platform with the hashtag #LetOscarKnow.

Cristian Javier Nonies born February 28, 2003, in Walnut Creek, California in San Francisco’s Bay Area. He lived in Fairfield California and eventually moved to Pembroke Pines in South Florida at age 3.  Cristian is from Mexican/Filipino descent on his father’s side and Colombian-American on his mother’s side. 

At 6 weeks old, Cristian nearly died from a condition called RSV Respiratory syncytial virus. He was flown by helicopter to Oakland Children’s Hospital and stayed in the intensive care unit for 21 days, pumped with steroids in order to survive.  He miraculously came back from the dead, so weak, yet still a little fighter! Due to the onset of this illness, Cristian had growth complications. Throughout his early childhood, he was short and small in overall build.  After some convincing to his mother, when Cristian was 8 and his brother, Marcelo, was 11 they were allowed to take martial arts and Kickboxing at Shaolin Kung fu academy, under the supervision of their father, Robert Nonies, a former teen and college boxer himself!  Cristian participated in all types of sports, including baseball and basketball before that.  But his father wanted him to go into martial arts because Cristian was hyperactive and liked to jump and kick!  After only 6 months in the kickboxing class, the brothers flew to Orlando alongside their father for a Kickboxing tournament.  In that tournament, both boys blossomed,  Marcelo winning the Gold Medal and Cristian, despite his size deficit, still achieving the Bronze medal.  Needless to say, the itch for them to continue was there,  but in traditional boxing, rather than kickboxing.

Robert began coaching his sons and other boys at the Pembroke Pines PAL (Police Activities League) center. After a few months, Robert became the head coach.  The boys developed their craft, but most of the emphasis was on Marcelo because Cristian was so small. That didn’t deter him, though. He was patient and worked with admirable discipline, far beyond his years, right along the other kids.  Cristian became a gym favorite, especially amongst his coaches, in particular to his adopted “uncle” Kevin Gleason, who always said Cristian was gifted and very crafty!  During this time, Cristian would attend local shows to get on the scale and weigh in to participate but was always turned away because there was no one there in his weight and age category to fight.  On one occasion, his coaches put fishing weights and keys in pockets without anyone knowing, and had him drink 16 oz of water.  To no avail, Cristian still couldn’t make weight. His chance finally came in 2012, when he fought a non-tournament bout against a kid 8 pounds heavier.  Cristian lost, but it was probably one of the happiest moments in his life.  He even did the Ali shuffle!  He continued to train, but because his parents were going through a divorce things were unsettling.  The boys continued to go to attend the gym, but now, dad Robert was asked to take over the Davie, Florida PAL program, after head coach Peter Balcunas passed away. So their training moved to a new space, and the focus continued to run strong. 

In 2015, while training under Robert’s training, and periodically trained with Kevin Gleason, Cristian racked up a winning streak of 9 wins, before losing a controversial fight in the State PAL.  He went on to win twice more, and lost his last fight at the Silver Gloves in 2017.  

Today, as we begin 2020, Cristian is Nationally Ranked and has traveled to 9 states to compete. His most recent win was the Silver Medal at the PAL Nationals in Oxnard, California!  

Cristian dreams of someday becoming the Featherweight Champion of the World, along with being a boxing commentator after he stops boxing! He is a disciplined and very charismatic teen, with a great sense of humor and admirable discipline.  Aside from his talents and skills in boxing, feels he has the appealing personality that fans are looking for, remaining humble, hard-working, focused and grateful. He always says that he keeps his focus on his dreams and trusts in God’s guidance!

Support Cristian

Follow him on Instagram and consider donating to his GoFundMe

We are rooting for this future World Champion.

Do you know someone under 16 that we should feature that is making major moves for their age?

Email us at

16 under 16: Cristian Javier Nonies, Boxing Prodigy Has His Eyes On The Prize.