By David McCoy (email@example.com)
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6:15 PM EDT, April 30, 2011
SOUTH BEND -- Fernando Martinez Jr. is in several times a week to practice and train."This is what I do, all the time," said the 15-year-old freshman at South Bend Adams, who has been boxing since he was five years old. "It's like the only sport for me that I can hit somebody without getting in trouble."
Martinez is enrolled in the South Bend Police Athletic League Boxing Club, a free program for local kids
"It's taught me self-confidence, mostly," said Martinez - the club's rising star.
"He's very talented,” said South Bend Police Chief Darryl Boykins, who runs the boxing program. “He was talented even before he came here. He was a little bit on the smaller side. He grew a little quicker. But you see, every once in a while, certain kids that come in and have very very good hand-eye coordination, and they pick up very quickly on it. He's one."
Back on April 8, Martinez had the biggest fight of his young boxing career. And he made the most of it, going three rounds, and winning by unanimous decision to win the Golden Gloves Junior Championship in Toledo, Ohio.
"I just go to fight,” Martinez said. “I didn't know the guy. Just fight, did my thing, did everything I had trained. Practice makes perfect, so I did everything I know, and I won.
"I don't like coming to practice and train. Who likes doing exercise and stuff? But it pays off at the end, you know? Just for that little fight. Three minutes, three rounds. That's it. But it pays off."
His next fight is at the Junior Olympics on May 14 in Terre Haute. If he wins that, he'll go to nationals. And after high school, he plans on going pro.
"HBO all the way," Martinez said.
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