Pupukea Fighter Training To Take On World’s Best Boxers

The modest Keoni Adric Jr. is set to take on the world. Photo from Joanne Barrett.

Keoni Adric is one of the country’s best young fighters. This summer, the 15-year-old Pupukea resident will look to become one of the world’s best as he travels to the Ukraine for the 2013 AIBA Junior Men’s World Championships.

Adric qualified for the event by winning the USA Boxing Junior World Team Open Championships Jan. 11 in Reno, Nev. Every member of the family is excited about the competition, to say the least – not that you’d know it from talking to the quiet, yet dedicated teen.

“It feels good, but I’m a bit nervous,” the teenager admitted.

Adric began training at age 8 when he followed his father, Keoni Sr., to the Waipahu Boxing Gym where the elder Adric worked out and trained other fighters. At the suggestion of legendary trainer Al Silva, who trained Andy Ganigan, Jesus Salud and Brian Viloria, the son began his own journey to etch his name into state boxing history.

Getting there hasn’t been easy. He trains five days a week for two-and-a-half hours. That’s when he not getting ready for a fight. Once a bout is scheduled, training moves up to six days a week, two-and-a-half hours a day plus morning runs before starting his homeschooling.

“He had to work hard but he picks up everything quick. He has had to work hard to accomplish everything he has done,” said the senior Adric. And to get to Kiev, he had to endure two bouts in Reno against unknown competitors with big-time reputations.

“I got a call from a good friend of mine who told me the first guy you are fighting is a bull from Texas. His father owns the gym and it’s a well-known gym. They know who you are and they are coming for you. This guy can move, he can box, he can brawl, he’s got power – and I’m thinking ‘I can’t tell my son this!’ So I had to pull myself together and get ready for a good fight.”

Needless to say, Adric Jr. came away victorious even though he barely made the minimum limit for his weight class.

He fought in the 132-pound division while weighing in at 125.2 pounds. A few ounces lighter and he wouldn’t have been allowed to fight.

“He needed to fight some guys who were bigger than he was,” said his father about the obvious size difference.

This week, Adric Jr. leaves for Colorado Springs to train at USA Boxing’s Olympic training gym. He’ll work out there for two weeks on the first of two trips to Colorado before leaving for Kiev in August.

While in the Ukraine, he will train for three weeks before facing even more of the world’s toughest fighters. Once there, it will fall to the senior Adric to make sure his son stays focused.

“At any tournament it’s always business. However, I always try to make the fighters and their families comfortable and happy, but I don’t take my mind off the fight, ever. Same with the fighters.

Everything is focused on training, resting and the fight.”

Once that test in past, Adric Jr. can focus on his next challenge: qualifying for the Olympics followed by a professional career.