Top of Their Game

Six local athletes tell us about the sports that changed their lives — and dish out some inspiration for the rest of us


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Middletown boxer Brian Tenorio

Brian Tenorio

24, Middletown

Tenorio works in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration by day and trains at Orange County Boxing in Middletown by night. The 5-foot, 8½-inch (“Give me that half,” he warns. “That’s all I’ve got”), 135-pound pugilist won his first amateur match last November.

How did you first get involved in boxing?
My dad had me watching all the fights since I was little, and I was a big Rocky fan. I was looking around the Internet and I found Orange County Boxing. The guy who first trained me, he just looked at me like, “Oh my God, we’ve got a lot of work to do.” He pulled me into the ring to start sparring other guys, and after that it was pretty much over. I just enjoyed hitting people and getting hit — it didn’t matter how much pain I was in, I just kept on coming.

Tell me about your workout routine.
It’s four or five days a week. Usually during the spring and summertime, I’ll run about five or six miles before I start, but now that it’s winter, I just run three miles on the treadmill. We shadowbox, I’ll do mitt work with my trainer. Then some days, we’ll spar. Everything’s basically four or five rounds — you do the heavy bag for four or five rounds, the speed bag for another four or five rounds. After all that’s done, the last part of our workout is mostly pushups, weights, pullups with a medicine ball, and then squats.

What would you say is your proudest accomplishment?
All the weight loss, and probably winning my first fight. I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I was a chubby kid all my life growing up — to finally see that I have dimples was something big for me. Then when I won my first fight, it was like getting that monkey off my back. Now I can move forward with this.

Have you faced any setbacks?
I’ve sparred with guys 30-40 pounds heavier than me before, and one hit me — one shot — and I blacked out. Never again will I do that (laughs). Learned my lesson.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting boxing themselves?
Keep an open mind, don’t get discouraged, and listen to the person who’s teaching you how to box. That person knows a lot more than you think you know. Don’t get sloppy with your eating — if you’re going to take this seriously, you gotta eat right.

What do you enjoy most about boxing?
When you hit someone who’s way better than you and catch them — there’s nothing better than that.

What goals do you have for the future?
I don’t think I want to go pro or anything — don’t get me wrong, I love boxing — but my biggest goal is just going to the Golden Gloves and seeing how far I can take it. Right now, me and my trainer, that’s what we’re working toward.

For information on places to pursue these sports, check our listings.


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