It’s official. Immokalee’s Nate Martinez has clenched a spot at the national level. After an impressive performance at last month’s U.S. Olympic Team Boxing Trials in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Nate closed out the year ranking ninth in the country in the USA Boxing Junior Men’s 114 pound weight class division. The accomplishment, in and of itself, is boosted ten-fold when the 14 year-old’s breakneck rise in the sport is considered. In less than two years he has garnered an array of regional and state titles, including the 2018 Florida Silver Glove title and back to back state Police Athletic League titles in 2018 and 2019. Most impressive, however, is his participation and experiences in tournaments across the country which for others typically takes numerous years to surmount.
While Nate’s road to conquest has had some noteworthy culminations, his daily regimen to meet the physical demands of the sport are not for the faint of heart. His dad Rudy, who also serves as his assistant coach, pushes him to his limits and admits that it has required sacrifice and determination on both of their parts to get Nate ready for ongoing competitions. “Nate is a very defensive fighter with a lot of potential. Pushing him to his limits is what has gotten him this far,” he said.
A freshman at Immokalee High School, Nate comes home from academics to the start of an evening chockfull of intensive training. The exertion begins with two hours of strength training at his personal home gym. His dad supervises the daily workout and then immediately thereafter, the two travel to Fort Myers where Nate continues his training under the direction of his Head coach Jose Ojeda. As the Executive Director of the Fort Myers PAL Boxing Academy Gym, Ojeda’s team currently consists of four nationally ranked boxers, with dozens more striving to get their own shot in the limelight.
Keeping Nate motivated and ambitious is key to ensuring that he doesn’t lose sight of the life-changing opportunities that could logistically be within his reach. USA Boxing 2018’s National Champion, Xander Zayas, who recently went professional at the age of 16 is now Top Ranks youngest prospect ever. A true model of excellence and aspiration, Xander himself recognizes Nate’s talent. Acquaintances on social media Xander cites Nate as “a beast and one to watch out for.”
With their eyes laser focused on making the US Boxing Team for the 2024 Summer Olympics, slated to be held in Paris, France, Nate and his team of trainers recognize that the schedule of training must remain extreme and concentrated. A current record of 20-8, Nate will continue to participate in sanctioned tournaments all the while competing against ranked boxers. Next month he travels to Biloxi, Mississippi to take part in the Sugar Bert Boxing National Qualifier. In March, the competition is routed to Reno, Nevada for the Western Elite Qualifiers. The local talent is, no doubt, one to keep an eye on as he advances steadily, with the ultimate goal of putting himself and his community on the map.