Fast Fres was Born in Puerto Rico, on “April Fool’s Day” to Fundador Baton Oquendo and Arquelia Rodriguez, Fres didn’t fool his parents. The delivery was on time and he was a healthy boy ready to face the world.

When he was just two, Fres and his two brothers, Hector, Henry, and sister Denise, moved to Chicago with their mother. His mom had a sister who lived there and said they could learn English and have a better life in the U.S.

A few months later Fres’ father, Fundador, who was Puerto Rican track-and-field champion in the late 1960s, also moved to Chicago.

“My father stayed on friendly terms with my mother and we remained a close family,” he remembers. “He stayed close to the children and has given me tremendous support with my boxing career.”

Growing up in the streets of Chicago was much the same as in any big city and the opportunities to get into fights were always present. Not being a guy to run from a fight, he got into more than his share. Fres found mentorship and a passion in the local boxing gym.

“I had my father’s genes,” he laughed. “dad had a lot of street fights in Puerto Rico and had a reputation for being a tough guy with a great uppercut. To this day, he’s trying to get me to throw that punch. But I tell him, ‘Dad, you were a great puncher and I am a great boxer,’ maybe he sees that I could be right.”

As an amateur, Fres had great success, winning 98 of 104 fights. He was a five-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion and the National Golden Gloves Champion in 1993. In 1996 he lost a controversial split decision in the Olympic trials to fellow Chicago native Nate Jones. Jones went on to win a bronze medal at the Olympics that year.

He was a little bitter after losing to Jones. He thought he won the fight and it should have been him that went to the Olympics.

Fres’ last fight in the professional boxing world was against Chagaev. It ended up being a problematic fight, and although Chagaev had initially won he refused to do a mandatory rematch against Oquendo and has now been stripped of the belt. Oquendo has spent the last two years training and doing exhibition matches while waiting to get his well-earned shot at the WBA Heavyweight Champion title once again. He gets that chance this year, and he’s ready to give it his all.

Fres resides in Chicago with his wife Stacy and 8 kids.