Athlete of the Week: Kenneth Thomas Jr.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Local boxer Kenneth Thomas Jr. has emerged as one of the best amateur boxers in the country. The Lawrence Central senior has been training under his father, Kenneth Sr., a former boxer since he was five years old.

“The first time he put on a pair of gloves and competed, he showed a lot of heart, and that’s the main ingredient,” said Kenneth Sr. “You have to have that to get anywhere in this sport.”

While the two go through the normal ups and downs of a teenage father-son relationship, boxing always brings them back together.

“It’s good to have him in my corner because he knows me better than anybody else,” said Kenneth Jr.

“It’s almost cerebral,” said Kenneth Sr. “It’s almost like when I’m in the corner with all the yelling, it’s almost like he can read me and tell what I’m thinking on the inside.”

“And it’s bonding,” added Kenneth Sr. “All the hotels, traveling, we spend a lot of time together.”

The national awards for Kenneth Jr.  have piled up quickly. He became the first boxer ever to win back to back Indiana Golden Glove awards. And while many of Kenneth’s peers are turning pro in search of fame and fortune, he wants to stay amateur, hoping to represent the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics.

“I want the gold medal,” said Kenneth Jr. “No one here in the U.S. has won it in boxing in a very long time, so that’s something I would like to accomplish.”

“That would be a pretty amazing feat,” added Kenneth Sr. “To actually be a part of that, I’m just speechless.”

And they’re hoping that gold medal will make his professional career even more lucrative. But for now, Kenneth Jr. is focused on the Indiana Golden Gloves tournament. He’ll fight in the championship round on April 17 at the Tyndall Armory.

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