Athlete of the Week: Matt Cardente

March 02, 2009, 10:05 a.m. (ET)

Name:  Matt Cardente
Age:  19
Hometown:  Hartland, Vt.
Height:  6'1"
Weight class:  Super heavyweight
Coach's name:  John George
Club name:  Windsor Boxing Club

Matt Cardente spent his high school years on the gridiron.  A lineman on the Hartford High School football team in Vermont, the teenager was used to getting hit.  But high school didn't last forever and neither did football.  After seeing a flyer for a boxing gym, Cardente and three friends decided to give the sport a try.  A little less than two years later, Cardente is still in the gym and racking up quite a list of titles.

Cardente trains under the supervision of John George at the Windsor Boxing Club in Hartland, Vt.  This year, his training regimen paid off when Cardente earned the title of 2009 Super Heavyweight Vermont Golden Gloves Champion.  

While his football history prepared him for the blows he would receive in the ring, it did not prepare him for the workouts.  "There's no workout like a boxing workout," Cardente says.  After beginning training, his football physique soon transformed into that of a boxer.  He currently boxes at 270 lbs.-a far cry from the 350 lbs. he weighed while in high school. 

You can find Cardente in the gym five to six times a week, performing various aerobic activities as well as weight lifting.  But his real love is sparring.  This is where Cardente feels he improves the most.  In fact, he's willing to travel the approximately three hours to Boston, Mass. in order to spar against the best.  "There's better competition down there," he admits. 

In the future, Cardente hopes to get 12 bouts under his belt to become an open boxer.  Ultimately, he'd like to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics.

Each week, USA Boxing will feature a start athlete from a different LBC.  LBC Presidents nominate who they would like to represent thier area.