With swift hands and quick feet,18-year-old Charles Conwell is working hard to be on top of his game.
“I want to become the best and to be the best you gotta fight the best.”
He's been boxing for the past 8 years, after his dad introduced him and his siblings to it.
“I was always a fight fan. I trained but I never competed," his dad Charles Conwell Sr., who’s also his coach, said. “They were fighting at home anyways so you know we just made it and turned it into a sport.”
While all his siblings have tried boxing, his mom said it really stuck with Charles.
“Once he started boxing he just kept going and he just excelled extremely fast in it.”
Now he’s been named a potential contender for the 2016 Olympics and after being undefeated in the preliminary trials, he said in the next international round, the stakes are even higher.
“Right now, I’m okay, but as it gets closer to the time, I get more nervous. But I use all that nervousness to make me more sharp in the ring,” he said.
As a current student at Cleveland Heights High School, he’s said it’s been tough juggling multiple things, but he just stays motivated by those close to his heart.
“When I get back I have to make up on all this work, stay after school, manage practice and everything else…but I just try and think about what I’m doing it for and who I’m doing it for.”
So how much training does a potential Olympian really have to go through?
“It’s grueling,” his dad said.
“I work out Monday through Friday,” Charles explained. “And when I’m not in school or at training camp or anything, I work out twice a day.”
His dad and coach added, “He’s gone almost more than he’s here, because it takes a lot of intense training to be an athlete at this superior level.”
When asked if they think he could be the next Floyd Mayweather, his mom said she hopes for even greater.
“I’m praying that it takes him beyond Floyd Mayweather,” she explained. “I want him to be his own icon for children to be able to look at him and the peers that he has around him to see that, ‘Oh, I went to school with him and if he did it, I can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish.’”
Charles heads to Argentina Jan. 19 to begin intensive training for the final qualifying tournament in March. And if he wins, he’ll officially be on the USA boxing team.
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