Boxers to compete in national tournament

Josue Avila, freshman in engineering, practices on the punching bag during boxing club practice at State Gym on Wednesday, March 21. Avila will be competing at 132 pounds in the NCBA National Championships on April 5 to 7.

Emily Hejlik

Inexperience could not hold back two ISU boxers from delivering the ultimate punch.

Josue Avila, freshman in engineering, will compete in the National Collegiate Boxing Association National Championships at 132 pounds April 5 to 7. His teammate, David Glenn, sophomore in mechanical engineering, also qualified at 165 pounds.

“These guys have really exceeded expectations,” said Jon Swanson, head coach of the ISU Boxing Club. “Both Avila and Glenn have only been boxing competitively since October. I couldn’t be more proud of two individuals who have put in so much hard work and dedication to get them to where they are now, competing for a national championship.”

The National Collegiate Boxing Association was formed in 1976 and is a group member of USA Boxing. Currently the association has over 25 colleges and universities participating in collegiate boxing nationwide. The association conducts competitions throughout the year for a multitude weight classes.

Each spring, a National Championship Belt is awarded to the best individual boxer per weight class and National Championship Trophy to the best team in college boxing. The championships will take place at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Although boxing is an individual sport, it takes a team effort to prosper.

“The help of Landon Wolfe, Garry Greenly and many others within the Recreation Services can’t go unnoticed,” Swanson said. “They have been more than generous with giving us the space to practice when we need it.”

Morgantown, W.Va., was home to the Mid-West Regional Championships, March 15 to 17. In order to qualify for nationals, boxers needed to place in the top three in their respected weight class.

Avila won his weight class at 132 pounds, while Glenn finished third, awaiting the final decision of the committee.

“[Glenn] took third at the Midwest Regional Championships, and we are bidding for him to go to nationals at 165 pounds,” Swanson said. “First and second place winners of the three regional championships at each weight class qualify for nationals, along with two of three third place winners. Glenn won three of four matches by technical knock out and one of his losses came earlier in the year where he later beat the same kid. He would have a very good chance of placing at nationals as a sophomore, which is unheard of.”

Glenn is preparing with a winners mentality.

“If I get the opportunity to compete at nationals, that would be amazing,” Glenn said. “Regardless, I am practicing with the same intensity.

The first year boxer’s involvement in the sport came from the help of a former ISU student-athlete.

“I always wanted to box when I was younger, but my parents didn’t think it would be a great idea, basketball was my main sport,” Glenn said. “I originally started boxing to help me prepare for mixed martial arts with Phil Hawes, a former Cyclone wrestler. Instead, I fell in love with boxing and really respected coach Swanson and how he stressed fundamentals, hard work and dedication.”

Avila also has taken the unconventional route — he is a fan of “the beautiful game.”

“Soccer has always been my favorite sport,” Avila said. “One of my friends from my hometown of Marshalltown used to box, so I started boxing with him since we didn’t have a club.”

Accountability has been a key to Avila’s success.

“I run on my own to make sure I have the endurance needed to sustain three two minute rounds,” Avila said. I have also planned to start cutting weight now instead of waiting until the last minute like I did at regionals.

Avila credits his coach as well.

“Coach Swanson does a good job of making sure practice is intense,” Avila said. “He definitely shows tough love.

Ultimately, an athletes’ drive comes from within. Avila said that at the end of the day, it’s up to an individual to ready themselves for a competition.

“Training in preparation for nationals will obviously become more intense, with longer hours,” Avila said. “How much time you put into something will dictate your success.”