When we think of High School athletics in the New Jersey, boxing is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind. As it stands right now, the sport is still limited to participation at the club level. Checkmates Boxing is located in Toms River where members of all ages can train in the sport. One member of Checkmates is Point Boro Sophomore Connor Kennedy – introduced to boxing by his father at the age of nine.
“When I was younger, my dad was an amateur boxer,” Kennedy said. “Once I turned twelve years old, he officially signed me up and I instantly loved the sport”.
For Connor, it is the strong relationship with his father that helped shape his boxing lifestyle.
“My father has consistently been part of my workouts ever since I started boxing. Before I stepped foot in a boxing gym, my father used to help me train in our garage,” Kennedy explained. Connor contributes the early guidance of his father as the main reason for falling in love with boxing.
“Growing up, my father has always been my most supportive teammate. In a sport like boxing, having a team around you is so important,” Kennedy addressed. In addition, one of the reasons I love going to Checkmates is that I always have a team around me,” Kennedy said.
With Kennedy being a multi-sport student-athlete, getting the most out of workouts is pivotal. “At the amateur level, I do not fight a whole lot. Therefore much of my time is spent in the gym training,” Kennedy explained.
“I am a workhorse in the gym. Every night I am there sparring, getting better, and getting in better shape,” Kennedy said.
When Connor is not focusing on his boxing, you can most likely find him hitting a baseball or practicing his fielding as baseball is a big part of his life. Therefore, many of Connor’s fights have taken place in the winter. “Right now the Winter season is when I primarily box. With baseball being such a large part of my life, the winter allows for me to get in the ring,” Kennedy explained.
After four years of amateur boxing, Connor is confident that wants boxing will remain a part of his life for a significantly long time.
“I’ve been boxing for four years now and it is definitely something that I love to do,” Kennedy said.
Furthermore, Connors confidence additionally comes from his brother, who is skilled in MMA. “With my brother taking the MMA route, I am likely to join him in the coming years”.
For now, boxing remains Connor’s biggest focus.
Connor’s fights currently consist of three rounds which last for two minutes each. Additionally, he has just moved up in weight, jumping from the 120-pound weight class to the 145-pound weight class. With a new season just around the corner, Connor is confident that he can continue to make strides for himself and act as a representative for teenage boxers.