Local Boxers Win National Titles
March 3, 2018 —
Edison Local junior, Hanna Smith and Oak Glen eighth grader Jack Ketchum are both Charleston, West Virginia National Champions today, but their paths to the ring were very different.
“Turns out, every guy in my family through generations boxed since they were kids,” Smith said. “So I thought, why not be the first girl in my family to do it."
“In fourth grade, I was actually bullied,” Ketchum said. “Boxing helps me take my anger out and its helped me with that."
Hanna won the Women's 2018 National Championship by default in Charleston, West Virginia, and despite winning by walkover, her path to the championship was not easy. She says a loss earlier in the year, led her to this victory.
“Even though I did lose, it taught me a lot and made me work harder,” Smith said. “After that I won two more, and just kept going."
Her coach, and owner of Board’s Boxing, Joe Board, says much like all of his other athletes, Hanna loves to learn, and that is why she has found so much success.
“When you teach Hanna, she is like an empty bucket,” Board said. “She will learn everything she can and she is just a good listener. And she will do anything you tell her to do. It does not matter what it is."
For Jack, it was his first big match. He says just being there was incredible and winning, was the icing on the cake.
“It was probably one of the best feelings of my life,” said Ketchum. “I did it, I accomplished my goal and I worked so hard. I saw my dad smiling, I saw my family smiling, I saw my coach smiling, it was the best feeling anyone could ever have.”
Board says you would never believe how young Jack is based on his work ethic.
“Jack has really catapulted because of his size; he has that strength that is ungodly and work ethic is just fantastic," Board said.
Although the belt fits just one, both Hanna and Jack say it belongs to the entire gym.
“I am the luckiest fighter in here because I have the best people to teach me, that is the only reason I got the belt,” Smith said.
“They aren't just like friends or teammates, they are like family," Ketchum said.
Up next for both the athletes, The Golden Gloves Competition coming up on March 24th.
Board’s Boxing has produced successful athletes from Edison Local, Southern Local, Wellsville, East Liverpool, Beaver Local, Bellaire, Lisbon, Brooke, and Steubenville Big Red.