Teen Boxer Goes From Waipahu Gym To World Championships

Keoni Adric Jr. will head to the Ukraine this summer to compete for an international boxing championship. Photo by Joanne Barratt.

Keoni Adric Jr. is one of the country’s best young fighters. This summer, the 15-year-old Pupukea resident, who began his training at Waipahu Boxing Gym, will look to become one of the world’s best as he travels to 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. To say the least, every member of the family is excited about the competition -not that you’d know it talking to the quiet, yet dedicated teen.

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

Adric began training as an 8-year-old when he followed his father, Keoni Adric Sr., to Waipahu Boxing Gym, where the elder Adric worked out and trained other fighters. At the suggestion of legendary trainer Al Silva, who worked with 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.

The teenager trains five days a week for two-anda-half hours a day. That’s just when he is not getting ready for a fight. Once a bout is scheduled, training moves to six days a week, two-and-a-half hours a day, plus morning runs before starting his home-schooling.

“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 at just 125.2 pounds. A few ounces lighter and he would-n’t have been allowed to fight.

“He needed to fight some guys who were bigger than he was,” said his father.

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

While in the Ukraine, Adric 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 is in the past, Adric can focus on his next challenge: qualifying for the Olympics followed by a professional career.