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HomeSportsBoxingPair of Fighters from Local “Wolfpack” Win Divisions in Tournament

Pair of Fighters from Local “Wolfpack” Win Divisions in Tournament

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On the weekend of Jan. 13 -14, the 2024 Annual Bob Nicholson Tournament was held at the Julian Jackson Center in Jacksonville, Fla. The boxing event was hosted by the Jacksonville Police Athletic League (JaxPAL) and sanctioned by USA Boxing. Coach Jackie Wilson’s Team Wolfpack Boxing sent a pair of fighters to compete on Saturday and Sunday: Max Hebson and Justin Concepcion.

Hebson, being only nine years old, competed in the PeeWee division at 80 pounds, while Concepcion fought in the Middleweight category at 165 pounds. The 17-year-old boxer has also participated in many such events for Team Wolfpack that the Sun has covered in prior issues. The coaches of the Brooksville-based boxing squad were pleased to have both fighters not only participate but win their respective divisions as well. Hebson defeated Preston Jackson from the JaxPAL to claim his title, while Concepcion vanquished Rahin Noorzia to claim victory in the middleweight division.

“We are very proud of both of them being able, being disciplined, and doing as me and the other coaches ask them to do[…] We are always happy when they win, but we are not mad when they lose,” Coach Wilson said. “We are glad that they faced their opponent and met their fears. Everyone cannot get in that ring and fight. Everyone is not going to get in that ring and fight. No one really likes getting punched in the face, but these guys do it every time. They go in the ring and they compete and they compete to the best of their abilities[…] As long as they give 100 percent, we are happy with the result.”

Wilson’s fighters give it all they have during their fights as well as in the lead-up to the events. As with many competitions, the weeks preceding them are as important as the actual bouts themselves. Preparation and conditioning are key to ensuring the boxers are ready. For Coach Wilson’s crew, they focus on the physical and mental aspects of the sport during the two-month window before a tournament. Team Wolfpack’s “fight camps” include different activities such as running, pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks so the boxers can maintain their stamina throughout the fight. The staff also trains their fighters on tactics like how to punch, how to slip punches, and how to catch punches.

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“Sometimes, the fight is won mentally before you even get into the ring,” said Coach Wilson.

Moving forward, there are many more events like these that boxers will be competing in around the country throughout the year. Two of these will feature players from Team Wolfpack. The first will be the 2024 Florida Golden Gloves State Championship in Holiday, Florida. It will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel from March 29-31. Less than a month later, the boxing dojo will host the Junior Olympics on April 20 and 21. Competitors will travel from across the United States, potentially including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, for the event. Only junior fighters (ages 7-17) may take part in the tournament.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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