Nashua’s Mike Fontanez chasing Olympic boxing dreams
With social media, there are no secrets in sports, and as we saw with multiple videos emanating from an AAU basket-brawl in Atlanta this past weekend, the “bad” and the “ugly” are readily available.
So why not some “good” this morning in the tale of Nashua’s Mike Fontanez.
By day, the 22-year-old is an assistant manager at Swarovski Crystal, but by night, he’s an aspiring boxer with Olympic dreams. It’s early on the trip, but the city just might want to get on board the Fontanez Express.
“The goal is the 2020 Olympic Games, but first come the trials, beginning next year,” said Fontanez, who was recently named the Nashua PAL (Police Athletic League) Boxer of the Year.
Fontanez has the credentials with a 28-3 amateur record. He’s a reigning New England Golden Gloves champion, with smarts and heart to match his ring talent.
Talk about old school, this kid still lives at home with his parents, and is quick to point out, it’s no free ride.
“I’m looking at condos, but I want to buy one, not rent,” he said. “My parents make me pay rent, they’re helping me out, but they’re not giving me anything. They are making me earn it. They’re still building my character.”
Fontanez was honored for what he gives back to the Nashua PAL boxing program. He’s a hero to some of the younger fighters in the gym. It’s a role he embraces.
“The kids see me in there, and they see me working hard every day,” said Fontanez. “That’s very important to me. Anything I can do for my ‘young-uns’ is very special for me.”
Fontanez trains in the gym daily, 12 months a year. Right now, he is polishing his game for one of three national qualifying tournaments, beginning in October, that could earn him a spot in the Olympic Trials.
He’s an up-and-comer that sports fans around this city could truly rally behind.
Odds and ends
I wondered how and why a school like Hollis Brookline High School would be successful on the football field. I mean, Chris Lones took over a program that had struggled a bit. And then you watch Lones in action, not on the sidelines, but when it matters most, in the offseason.
July is a huge month for high school football players as they lift and work out preparing for the long grind of the fall.
The Cavaliers, because of work being done at the high school, found themselves locked out of their weight room this month.
Credit Lones and crew for adapting on the fly. FitLab stepped up to help the athletes with a reduced rate on summer memberships, according to Lones. And then the coach tried his best to adapt, adjust and overcome with a makeshift outdoor workout area, which includes heavy truck tires and heavy ropes.
Success is no accident. …
For those of you playing at home, I found it quite telling that when this corner made four World Cup quarterfinal predictions, all four were wrong. Nice going, Longo. …
A true highlight of summer, Saratoga’s opening is just nine days away on July 20. If you are one of the few, hearty fans of horse racing left out there, summer at Saratoga with the Thoroughbreds is as good as it gets.