EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Some of Indiana’s best boxers got to prove themselves at the Golden Gloves in May and bring home some bling. With 9 boxers participating, XFit Boxing placed first in four championship fights and runner-up in four. They also received the second place team trophy and an “Outstanding Boxer of the Year” award. Now, they get to show off their skills right here in the Tri-State.
“Last year we missed the Golden Gloves,” said Ezzard Cooper, boxing coach and XFit owner. “So we didn’t get to represent in the Golden Gloves. We brought nine fighters up and they performed so now they get to perform at home. So there’s a lot of people that didn’t get to go to Indianapolis to watch them fight so now they get to watch them at home.”
The fighters, ranging from age eight to 47, have been boxing for years and enduring relentless training to get this far.
Golden Glove winner David Kuksenko says the workout are “intense. Brutal for the most part. They’re not kidding when they say boxing workouts are probably the hardest. He puts you through intense training. Running all the time, constant ab workouts. Anything that he can create in his head he will put out on us, always.”
Fifteen-year-old Sayani Merda says “he pushes us great. Discipline is a big factor. You just work really hard and you’re determined.”
Training for a fight takes a lot of athleticism, but many boxers say the preparation is mostly mental.
“80 percent maybe mental, if not more,” added Kuksenko. “Even physical-wise, once you’re tired, it’s all mental. You have to tell your head you have to keep going this is just the start. And at that point it turns mental.”
Sophomore Madison Hicks said, “I have to stay positive in my mind. If I feel nervous, I have to say positive things, so that I do good. Punching, it’s not all about that. It’s your mind to know what to throw. So it’s all mental.”
Although they fight individually, the XFit group works together to get stronger. Art Edmond III has been boxing for eight years and he said “all the people I have met and learned from, all the sparring partners I have, different styles – it’s a family and we’re strong and we’re ready to fight. I’m ready to fight.”
The “Evansville Champions 2” event takes place on June 17 at the National Guard Armory. There will be a car show at 3pm, followed by the event at 6pm.