Jimmy Martinez Jr. refuses to take full credit for his boxing prowess.
“Hard work and my faith in God got me to where I am right now,” said the 19-year-old from Perth Amboy. “I don’t do anything on my own. I have a lot of help. My coach helps with my boxing and I get the strength from God to keep going.”
When Martinez steps into the ring at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis starting today, he will begin his first journey toward what he hopes will end with a Golden Gloves national title.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going there to win,” he said. “I want to be technically flawless, have great defense and aggressive offense, and put constant pressure on my opponents.”
The 15-4 Martinez, who boxes for the Middletown Boxing Club under Dan Doyle, won the New Jersey Golden Gloves 141-pound belt on April 15 with a victory over Jerome Rodriguez. Now he will go after the national title this week alongside eight other Team New Jersey boxers.
New Brunswick’s Leroy Davila, who finished second during last year’s national tournament, will look to finish on top this time around. Davila, 25-6, fights out of Plainfield 5-Star Gym, and this year will be in the 108-pound class.
“I’m going to have a good shot at winning the title this year,” Davila said. “My experience definitely helps. I’m going to be more relaxed.”
Last year, Davila was training primarily on his own, often utilizing the help of a cousin to get him into shape. After losing to Rau’shee Warren in last year’s 114-pound final, Davila started training with Steve Riveria, who changed Davila’s style a bit.
“I used to move around a lot,” Davila said. “Now I keep my feet settled, which puts more power and accuracy into my punches. I’m stronger and faster now.”
Plainfield 5-Star teammate Joel Aviles will make his debut at the national tournament in the 132-pound class, and Riveria looks forward to seeing how far Aviles can go in Indianapolis.
“Joel is a brawler who never gets tired,” he said. “This will be his first time there, but he’s going to put pressure on guys. He’s good at wearing down his opponent, so I like his chances.”
Another local returning to the Golden Gloves’ national ring is 20-year-old Anthony Gangemi. He went to Salt Lake City in 2009 and fought in the 165-pound class.
“I feel more confident now, especially with two more years of boxing experience under my belt,” said Gangemi, a Mine Hill resident who is 37-15 and fights out of Dover Boxing Club. “I’ve had a lot of gym time the past couple of years.”
Gangemi has taken his boxing ability abroad as well, and has fought several international bouts in Ireland and Puerto Rico. While gaining such valuable experience during the past two years, he also dropped some weight and now feels better than ever.
“I’m fighting at 152 pounds now, and I’m a lot more powerful at this weight,” Gangemi said. “I’m quicker and have more stamina now. I feel like I can throw punches for an entire fight. And being two years older, my mentality is a lot better.”
At 27, Plainfield boxer Michael Lowery, who fights out of Pound for Pound Boxing Club in Edison, expects to be more mentally mature than many of the opponents he will face in Indianapolis.
He also expects to keep his undefeated record intact.
“I’m just going there to win and take no prisoners,” Lowery said. “I plan on bringing back the belt. I’m not planning on losing and messing up my perfect record.”
However, to remain perfect Lowery knows he’s going to have to be at the top of his game. Fortunately for him, he’s one of the lighter super heavyweights, weighing in around 215 pounds.
“I’m going to use speed to my advantage,” he said. “I’m real excited. The better competition I fight, I believe the better I’m going to fight. The competition there is going to bring out the best in me. It’s going to push me to bring out the champion I know is inside me.”
Source: Daily Record