ROCKFORD (WREX) -
Rockford native Angel Martinez is taking his boxing skills to the international level. After winning the national championship this past week, Martinez is ready for more. He's back in Rockford showing off his gold medal after winning the Junior Open National Championship in Reno, Nevada last week.
"It's really special. It meant all the hard work, everything we've been doing, all the training has paid off."
To calm his nerves before the final match, Angel thought of familiar surroundings.
"I just kept thinking about everyone here. Everyone rooting, all the support, everyone. It's just motivation."
The national championship gives Angel a spot on the junior national team, which means he'll get a chance to compete in the World Championships in Russia in September. The Auburn freshman has big goals in boxing.
"I'm going to try to take it to the Olympics and then go pro after that."
"The sky's the limit for Angel. We dream of that. Every coach and every boxer dreams of being that world championship boxer or Olympic gold medalist. Right now this is where they all come through. They come through a tournament like this."
This is the biggest win in Angel's young career.... Jimmy Goodman, Junior has coached Angel for about the past five years at the Patriots Gateway Boxing Club. He sees a lot of potential in Angel.
"He hasn't peaked yet. He's still learning. He's getting better and better with each match he comes through. Once you look at him and think he's a really good boxer, he's going to get better. You don't know what you're going to get. You don't know how high his caliber level is going to be. He's remarkable."
For now he'll enjoy a little cake to celebrate his win, then it's right back to training.