Davila and Martin Reflect on Recent International Experiences

July 25, 2013, 11:55 a.m. (ET)
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – 2013 has opened with a string of international competition for USA Boxing’s National Teams. In less than six months, Team USA has captured 64 international medals with 31 gold, 13 silver, and 20 bronze. We talked with National Team members – light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) and welterweight Kareem Martin (Clinton, Md.) to learn more about their perspectives on recent international experiences.  

Traveling as part of the Elite Men’s National Team this year, Davila has achieved remarkable success. After claiming silver at the Independence Cup in the Dominican Republic in February, he confirmed his expertise with a gold medal finish at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships. Following an intensive training camp at the Olympic Training Center with International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Davila won two back-to-back competitions in Puerto Rico and most recently, the Makar Mazai Memorial in Ukraine. Throughout the year, Davila has emerged as a natural leader for the Elite Men’s National Team – both in and out of the ring.

What was the most memorable part of being in Puerto Rico with Team USA earlier this year?
Davila: I have several answers for this one. First of all, being chosen as the team captain and winning two gold medals. Secondly, having my personal coach, Steve Rivera (Somerset, N.J.), invited to join as a team coach. He has been monumental in my recent successes, and I was very grateful that he was able to spend time with the entire team. Finally, watching Coach Pedro’s expression as he held up our two first place team trophies before we returned home. 

What was the most challenging aspect of the Puerto Rican trip?
Davila: Adjusting to the climate change because it was much warmer than back in the States. Having a week-long training camp at the Puerto Rico Olympic Center before the start of competition helped us to acclimate.

What advice would you share with amateur boxers that travel internationally to compete?
Davila: Stay focused, enjoy the experience, and remember it isn’t all about defeating your opponent – it’s also about making new friends from other countries.  

How are you feeling about the AIBA World Championships that are coming up later this year?
Davila: I am looking forward to the experience and am confident that I have a good chance at medaling. I am going to continue to train hard and pray. 

Davila is diligently training for the World Championships that will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October. He is currently spending time at the Olympic Training Center to help the Junior Word Team members prepare for the 2013 ABIA Junior World Championships in September. Later this summer, he will compete in the Men’s Continental Championships with his teammates on the Elite Men’s National Team. 

As Davila continues to build upon his numerous international victories, another talented boxer, Martin, is just getting started. The number one ranked welterweight on the Youth Men’s National Team, competed internationally for the first time in June at the Klitchko Brothers Tournament in Ukraine. He confidently battled to the championship and returned home with a gold medal. Martin secured his place on the National Team by winning gold at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championship in April. He has been boxing since he was eight-years-old, and is looking forward to gaining unmatched experiences as part of the National Team.

What was your favorite part of competing internationally?
Martin: Seeing all of the different countries that participated and learning more about their cultures.

What was the most challenging aspect of competing internationally?
Martin: Adjusting to the different boxing styles that I had not encountered in the United States.

What advice would you share with boxers that travel internationally to compete?
Martin: Stay focused and be ready to fight. Always train hard and be ready to counter any style. Do not let the referee distract you during the bout – focus on your opponent.

USA Boxing’s International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque, a highly decorated and world-renowned boxing coach, has placed a strong emphasis on international competition. As Martin explained, there are unique boxing styles in other countries that are not encountered very often in national tournaments.   
Team USA will continue to appear frequently on the international scene in the remainder of 2013 and beyond. The current international medal count can be found at any time on USA Boxing’s homepage. Social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – are updated regularly with the latest news and behind-the-scenes of the USA Boxing’s training camps and international competition.