MARQUETTE, Mich. – Mikaela Mayer has called Marquette home for a few years now, where she has worked under the guidance of Al Mitchell, working towards her goal of winning a gold medal at the upcoming summer games in Rio. Right now, Mayer has her sights set on the 2015 U.S. National Championships next month in Spokane, Wash.
“The U.S. Nationals is always the most prestigious tournament of the year,” said Mayer. “It’s really important to win this tournament, especially going into 2015 because its the first qualifier for the Olympic Trials.”
“Boxing in the national championship to go to the Pan-American Games or the Olympic Trials is big,” said Al Mitchell. “132 (pounds) is the toughest division in the men’s and women’s division. You only have three Olympic weights and 132 lbs. is the middle one.”
The California native had a stellar year, winning two national boxing championship titles and a silver medal at a tournament in Finland. Mayer has been working on the basics of boxing in preparation for nationals.
“Boxing is repetition,” said Mayer. “We’ve been working on the same basic fundamentals, trying to step it up little by little making sure my technique is perfect. We know the girls that we’re going to be competing against. We’ve been doing this for seven or eight years.”
“Always, in any sport, fundamentals is everything,” added Mitchell. “Earlier this year, we worked on her sitting and throwing punches. Now, she’s getting more aggressive. She used to not be that aggressive, she used to just box and move. She’s getting over aggressive, so I have to sit her back down and make her smart again.”
Mikaela’s main competition at the national championships will likely be 30–year–old Queen Underwood, who represented the United States at the 2012 summer games.
“Right now, 50 percent is going to be between her and Queen,” said Mitchell. “I always look for the upset factor. When you have an athlete in the sport of boxing and they’re 50/50, that’s an even playground.”
“I know the mistakes that we’ve made in the past,” said Mayer. “We know how we have to adjust this time around. It’s just adjusting to what we’ve done wrong in the past.”
The U.S. National Championships begin Jan. 17.