Youth high performance team member Arjan Iseni (Staten Island, N.Y) is currently wrapping up his first training camp at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 17-year-old light heavyweight began the sport of boxing at the age of 8, following in his father’s footsteps of becoming a fighter. Iseni, who trains at Bars Boxing, was required to learn boxing and kickboxing at his gym, which led to him competing in both events, earning a silver medal at the World Kickboxing Junior Championships and winning three USA Boxing National tournaments back-to-back, including the 2019 Youth National Championships to earn his place on Team USA.
USA Boxing caught up with Iseni to see how his first time in Olympic City USA has been going.
You had an impressive 2019, winning the Youth Open, Eastern Qualifier and then Youth National Championships to earn a place on your first high performance squad. How did you feel about this quick rise to the top of your division and earning a spot on your first HP squad?
It felt great to have such a great year in 2019 and to get the number one spot in my weight class. It was a good feeling to know all the hard work I had put in the last year paid off and earned me my spot on the Team USA High Performance Team.
What were you feeling before coming to Colorado Springs?
Coming into camp, I was a little nervous to see who my coaches would be and how the environment would be, but all the coaches are great people and are always helping me to make me a better boxer.
What has your schedule been like?
During this camp, myself and the rest of the team would wake up early to get our weight checked and then go for a light run in the morning. After the run, we would have two workouts throughout the day in the boxing gym, learning new techniques that would be effective internationally, as well as in the United States.
What is the biggest difference from training at the USOPTC and training at your home gym?
The biggest difference of training at the Training Center and training back home has been that during my time in Colorado the coaches have been focusing a lot on the basics and fundamentals of boxing, such as good footwork, basic combinations and fighting in the pocket. On the other hand, back home my gym likes to focus on being well conditioned and fighting on the outside and moving around.
What has been the biggest thing you have learned since coming to camp?
Since coming to this training camp, the biggest thing I have learned is adapting to a new workout environment. For it being by first time coming to the USOPTC, I didn’t know what to expect for the workouts, but as soon as I got here, I got used to it.
What has been your favorite part of camp or Colorado Springs so far?
My favorite part of the camp so far has been the environment. The people around me are all very motivated, which makes me want to work harder and push the rest of the team.
How has it been working alongside other boxers on Team USA?
Working alongside the other boxers on Team USA is very fun. Everyone on the team is driven and hardworking, which makes for a great team. I have started to become close with the team and create friendships, and the rest of the team is just full of great people to be around. This makes it feel like a true team.
While here training you have had the opportunity to see some of the training sessions of our Olympic Qualification Team. How has that experience been?
I have had the opportunity to see some of the training sessions of the Olympic Qualification Team, and they are very hard working, and it is very motivating to see people that I know and train with back in New York chasing their dreams to be an Olympic Champion.
What are your goals for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
My goals for the rest of 2020 are to stay as active as possible in the ring and always be ready to fight. I look forward to qualifying and competing in this year’s USA Boxing Nationals to try and make the elite team. Hopefully, one day I do qualify to fight in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and make the team. It has always been a dream of mine to represent my country in the Olympics!