As one of the nation’s top-ranked amateur boxers, Tony Losey had Olympic dreams.
“That was his goal,” said Lewis Hernandez, who had trained Losey at Wichita’s Northside Boxing Club for the past eight years.
“He went through a lot of tough times as a kid, but he was pushing forward real well.”
On Tuesday, Losey, 22, was killed when a tank that was estimated to weigh 12,000 pounds fell on him in an industrial accident in north Wichita, not far from the gym where he chased his dreams.
The Wichita Eagle reports that industrial accident happened at about 2 p.m. at Boardman LLC, an industrial fabrication plant. Losey was working as a subcontractor at the site, refurbishing a tank.
While police would not identify the victim Tuesday, Hernandez confirmed that the man killed was the promising boxer.
Hernandez, other friends and Losey’s relatives gathered at the site while investigators worked to sort out what had happened.
The victim was under a tarp outside sandblasting the tank that was estimated to be 15 to 18 feet tall when it shifted and fell on him, killing him immediately, Wichita police Sgt. John Ryan said.
“The piece of equipment shifted very suddenly,” he said. “He tried to get out of the way. It was just too heavy.
“It doesn’t take much once you get that kind of weight moving. Everything shifts out of the way, and it starts sliding.”
Emergency crews arrived within minutes of the accident.
Ryan said it’s rare for tanks to fall on workers.
“But it does happen several times a year,” he added. “Most of the time we never hear about it, because people get out of the way.
“Sometimes the tanks are so heavy that the supports are not adequate to hold it.”
A former boxer who also had trained under Hernandez was working with Losey when the accident happened, Hernandez said.
“He told me it was on two sawhorses and just rolled off,” Hernandez said.
Ryan said investigators were trying to determine whether proper safety measures were met.
As of July, USA Boxing had ranked Losey third nationally in its elite division for the 152-pound weight class.
He was scheduled to compete at a qualifying trial in January in Spokane, Wash., Hernandez said. If he had been successful there, he would have been eligible to compete at the Olympic Trials, which are held to determine the U.S. team for the 2016 Games.
Trouble also was part of Losey’s life.
Losey’s older brother, Javier Rizo, was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison plus 89 months for the Oct. 27 hit-and-run death of Maria Martinez.
A police report showed Losey was a passenger in Rizo’s van when his brother ran a stop sign at 24th and North Arkansas at about 2 a.m. and struck the 34-year-old woman’s vehicle.
As one of the passengers, Losey violated his 24-month probation from a 2011 aggravated battery case. He was out past the court-ordered curfew of 9 p.m., had consumed alcohol and was in a vehicle with more than one person not related to him, according to court documents.
Those violations resulted in a Sedgwick County court ruling in March that extended his probation by a year. One of his new probation conditions was that he could leave home only to go to work.
The judge specifically said he couldn’t leave home to box, the document said.
But Hernandez said the judge was impressed by reports of Losey’s work habits on the job, so the judge recently had allowed him to return to the gym.
“Tony was trying hard to do what was right,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he’s convinced that Losey would have used boxing to improve his life. Winning an Olympic gold medal was one of his goals, he added.
“He was that good,” Hernandez said. “He was born a boxer. He was a natural at it.”
Losey also took time to help teach younger boxers at the gym.
“He would see them doing something wrong, and he’d say, ‘No, do it like this,’ ” Hernandez said.
As tough as he was in the boxing ring, Losey had a soft heart for his fiancee and daughters.
“He was a great father,” Hernandez said. “He was working hard to take care of them.
“This is a sad day. We just have to remember the good times we had with Tony.”