He admits to being nervous, but Coquitlam's Connor Hollingshead dropped any worries about his skills - and alleviated some of his mother's concerns - at last week's Seattle-Tacoma Junior Golden Gloves boxing championships.
Although he finished 1-1, losing the championship to a decision, the whole experience for the 11year-old was a big positive.
"I was nervous, it was completely nerve wracking getting into the ring," Connor said of his first sanctioned boxing match. "But once you get in and you start to box, the flow of it just settles down all the nerves."
He beat his first opponent in the 101-106 pound division by decision, after putting him in a standing eight-count.
Against his second opponent, the Hollingshead camp felt that the Kwayhquitlum Middle School student had scored more than enough points to win, but the judges ruled otherwise.
"I thought I did well, I know I scored some good hits. I was at first a bit angry and a little shocked. In the end you can't always win, but you want to," he noted.
His mom was just pleased that Connor stepped out of the ring healthy and happy.
"He didn't bring home the trophy but he had a fantastic experience," said Robyn Hollingshead. "Every time he steps in (to the ring) it's the longest 1.5 minutes of my life."
He's been at the sport for the past two years, beginning in East Vancouver and since moving to the North Burnaby Boxing Club where he trains under the tutelage of coach Dave Robinson and former Canadian Olympic boxer Manny Sobral.
A month ago, he stepped into an East Vancouver ring at an anti-bullying fundraiser on behalf of the Amanda Todd Legacy Foundation, where Hollingshead met five-time world champion Evander Holyfield.
Last year he got his first competition at the B.C. Silver Gloves championships. He also had two exhibition matches in Langley. None of the events, however, were sanctioned.
His own personal style is orthodox, as the Grade 6 student leads with his left during three 1.5 minute rounds.
The two Oregon fighters he faced this past weekend were similar in style, and complete opposite to his own.
"They were the opposite of me, they came in right away and just started throwing. I'm not a brawler but much more controlled," said Connor. "I like to keep moving, move to my rightside and do a lot of jabbing."
While his goal is to get about 10 to 15 fights in this year, the main obstacle is finding boxers in his age and weight category.
"It's really tough to find fighters who match up with me," he noted. "Every fight gives me some experience, and the more you fight the less nervous you are."
The same can't be said for his mom, unfortunately.
"I try to tell her everything will be OK. But what can you do - she's a mother," Connor added.
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