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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 2, 2009

Just like Ali
Voorheesville youngster throws a very hard punch

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– Getting hit in the face can cause quite a stir.

A few years ago, Justin Lee, an 11-year-old from Voorheesville, was punched in the face by another student during an after school program. Now, he is training for the Junior Olympics in boxing.

“This kid just randomly hit me and it made me think about my safety,” said Justin. “I started boxing lessons for fun and protection.”

Lee’s father, Joseph Lee, enrolled his son in a boxing program about a year-and-a-half ago. “I had no idea that it would turn into something this big,” said Mr. Lee. “It has done wonders for his discipline and confidence.”

Justin is a sixth-grader at Christ the King school in Guilderland. He lost his first match to Nacoda Meredith in Saratoga on Feb. 6 for a Golden Glove. The Junior Olympic competition is on April 18 in Rochester.

“It’s hard for me to find matches because not many kids box at my age,” Justin said. “I’m hoping to get a fight in Rochester. If I don’t, then I automatically move on.”

Justin trains at the Albany Boxing Club with trainer Jerick Jones five days a week for two-and-a-half hours a day. “He works extremely hard and also runs two miles a day,” said Mr. Lee.

The boy fights with a boxer-puncher style; throwing many punches and frequently moving his head and feet.

“Boxing takes a lot out of a young guy like me, but I enjoy the competition,” Justin said. “It’s better to be short because you have a smaller canvas and you’re a smaller target in the ring.”

Mr. Lee told The Enterprise that his son got into boxing for the same reason that Muhammad Ali did.

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“Ali got his bike stolen when he was a kid and he went marching into the police station saying, ‘I’m going to beat up whoever stole my bike,’” said Mr. Lee. “A cop told Ali that he should get some training first. Justin got hit in the face and he took up boxing lessons. It’s a strange coincidence.”