Nathan Ojo is aware of the snakes and ladders nature of boxing – and as a result, was determined to make sure he was climbing up the workman’s tool rather than sliding down exotic animal last weekend.
Ojo is a teen with an Olympic dream, the Tallaght fighter wants to go to Paris in 2024. To keep that dream alive he believed he had no option but to be crowned Irish Under-18 Champion for 2022.
Victory in the Nationals put him in European Under-18 frame and an impressive performance there may catch the eye of the High Performance powers that be. Defeat to Sean Trant at the National Stadium just over a week ago and he argues he would have slid down a massive snake and been left needing to roll a serious amount of sixes to catch up.
A real desire not to be forced back drove the Esker talent throughout the tournament.
“In the semis and in this fight my mentality was .. ‘if I don’t win this fight tonight, I’m not gonna make it’. Not literally, but it’s gonna slow down my process. I know in the amateurs when you lose a fight it slows you down a lot,” he explains when speaking to Irish-boxing.com.
“Like if I lost tonight I’d have to wait a whole other year to do this again and try and make the Irish team. Now I have this year to make the Irish team and give it all I got.”
The reigning 86kg U/18 Champion of Ireland is confident that his ability to learn and his dedication will see him improve to the extent he is an Olympic hopeful in two years’ time.
“I’m naturally a quick learner in boxing,” he continues
“In two years’ time and if I’m training with the High Performance I feel like I definitely have a shot at making the Olympics.”
Expanding on his dedication and focused mindset Ojo reveals he never let Covid halt his progress.
“I didn’t use any of that bollox as an excuse. At Christmas 2020 I was 100kgs and fat but every day I did something, every day, running, working out… Two years ago all of this shit was just belly,” he adds pointing to his belly.
“I didn’t use any of that covid shit as an excuse. Every day before school I go running, I go to the gym, plus boxing as well,. that’s why I think I have a very good shot at the Olympics. I’m a very hard worker.”