The match was set in Columbus, Ga. and Gooch faced an opponent in his senior division’s junior welterweight class after months of hard work and preparation.
“It was a close knockout,” Gooch chuckled. “I was happy I won because that’s what I have been waiting for ever since I started boxing.”
The 17-year-old THS senior has had to balance his schoolwork with long training hours with his coach Sam Bluster at Talladega County Invaders Boxing Club in Sylacauga.
“My coach was excited about it, he just kept telling me, ‘you won!’ ‘you won!’” Gooch said.
With the help of Bluster and the support of his family, Gooch now has a solid victory on his hands with the trophy to prove it.
“I am very proud,” said Gooch’s mother Casandra Blassingame. “He’s been training for this for a couple of years now.”
Blassingame said Gooch had been trained in Taekwondo, one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, before converting to boxing and has come to love the sport.
“You train from Monday through Saturday,” Gooch said. “You have all the equipment you need and the coach just helps you with all the fundamentals of boxing.
“You just go from there.”
Some of the main things Gooch has learned inside of the ring are how to protect himself, and most importantly, self discipline.
Training can sometimes be a grueling process for the young boxer, but in the end he feels it will pay off.
“They paired me up with a guy that was about 136 or 138 [pounds] for the fight,” Gooch said.
“He was 16 years old and he weighed more than me so I had to pick up weight.”
Picking up weight possibly proved itself to be one of the best things about his training process.
“I just had to eat,” Gooch chuckled.
“I was 133 [pounds] and got to 138 [pounds] but by fight time I was 136 [pounds].”
Gooch is a member of the United States Amateur Boxing League and said he plans to keep fighting in the amateur division to get as much experience as he possibly can, and plans to box professionally one day.
“That’s when the head gear comes off,” he said.
Gooch said he is ready for more amateur fights, and is in fact training for a tournament in Johnson City, Tenn. in January.
But for now, it’s back to the training room for Gooch where he prepares for his next fight and plans to bring home his next trophy.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.