She won the bronze. She won the silver. This year, she's going for the gold. And Billings, Montana's "JoJo" Martinez knocked it out. The soon-to-be 8th grader at Ben Steele Middle School just earned the gold medal at the USA Boxing National Junior Olympics.

I caught up with her dad Austin Schnizler for lunch before they left for Wichita, Kansas and he was very excited for what a win in Wichita could mean for JoJo's future.

Austin Schnizler: This tournament was the 50th annual junior Olympics and the first time JoJo won gold. She had previously won bronze and silver but as they say, the third time is the charm. JoJo will take the rest of July off and begin to prepare for her toughest tournament to date in December (USA Boxing National Championships). She will move up to the Junior division from the Intermediate division which means she will be facing girls 14-16 years old.

I first interviewed JoJo when she was just a 5th grader at Big Sky Elementary School in Billings. She was already ranked #1 in the nation for her bracket. We caught up with her a while later when she was headed to nationals.

Austin tells us that if JoJo wins in December, she will be invited to attend a camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. If she makes that camp, she would train under coaches on the Olympic team and would be "one step closer of achieving her goal of competing in the 2028 Olympics in LA."

Since "JoJo" launched her young boxing career, Austin decided to launch his own gym in Billings called "Grit & Grind Boxing." They're located at 9000 Quest Ave.

Another Grit & Grind boxer named Mia Garcia competed in the intermediate 101lb weight class.

Austin Schnizler: Although she didn’t medal, she showed major improvements and lost a tough split decision to the girl who won silver. We will be looking at adding a couple of boxers in September at no monthly charge. All we ask is dedication and commitment to learning.

 

 

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