For most athletes, it takes years of hard work to enter the competition realm at a national level. For Nate Martinez, however, the experience has been fast-tracked as he experienced the limelight at the USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah earlier this month after only 8 months into the sport. A former Little League Baseball All-Star, thirteen year old Nate gave up his baseball glove for boxing gloves and refuses to look back staying focused on his dream of one day becoming a member of the USA Olympic Boxing Team. While Nate lost his first national match in a split decision, the bout against a fighter with dozens of matches under his belt only strengthened his motivation and his desire to train harder. The Immokalee Middle School eighth grader, who enjoys his P.E. class as well as Reading and Writing, excels in the classroom as well. His school days begin a bit differently than most, with a 2 mile run each morning at 6am, 3 hours of practice every day afterschool coupled with sparring on Saturdays at his training gym in Fort Myers. As a member of the Ft Myers Police Athletic League’s Boxing Team, Martinez helped to bring home the Best Team of Show trophy after their appearance in last month’s USA Boxing Florida State Champions competition. Last weekend, Nate competed in the Florida Silver Glove Competition where he earned the championship title in his weight division. Nate’s dad Rudy, who serves as his assistant coach attributes his son’s accomplishments to his dedication to enhancing his skillset. Most of Nate’s competitors thus far have been training and preparing for years, while Nate is still gaining momentum albeit at an amazing rate. Rudy who is also a certified Coach and Official through USA Boxing, admits that he is tough on his son, but knows that it is paying off and is evident in his success. Jose Ojeda, who serves as Nate’s Head Coach and trainer cites his progress as fast. “I saw the talent that he has and started fixing his errors and preparing him for his second fight.” Incidentally, Nate started training with Ojeda in March and competed and won his first match less than six weeks later. Ojeda describes Nate as smart and dedicated and a quick learner. Having now earned two state titles, Ojeda predicts that 2019 will bring great things to Nate’s boxing career. In January, Nate will travel to Washington, D.C. for the Regional Silver Gloves. With a win here, Nate is guaranteed a spot at the 2019 National Silver Gloves in February. With a current record of 8-3, Nate is also scheduled for a trip to Reno, Nevada where he will compete in the Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championships in March. He is additionally slated to take part in the Junior Olympic & Prep Nationals and Youth Open in Madison, Wisconsin in June.