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Syracuse’s Amir Anderson Goes from Underdog to Top Dog

by Bob Trieger

In the 2019 USA National Boxing Championships, Amir Anderson was a relatively unknown competitor from Syracuse (N.Y.), but this year he believes he’s one of the “top dogs” in the 165-pound decision.

Anderson will be competing in the youth division at the 2020 USA Boxing National Championships, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic from last December to March 25 April 3, in Shreveport, La.

Anderson’s goal at these championships is simple: he wants to win to lock down a slot on the USA Boxing Youth Team, which will give him a leg up in terms of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

“The winner in each weight class qualifies for the USA Boxing Youth Team,” he explained.  “Runner-ups are alternates and can make the team if the winner can’t for whatever reason. I want to win!

“Last time I had nothing to lose at Nationals. Now, I have everything to lose. I do my research and breakdown other fighters in my weight class.  I’ll be more focused this time because I was an underdog then and now I’m the top dog in my division.”

The 17-year-old Anderson has already tasted success, capturing top honors at the 2019 Junior Open and 2019 Eastern Regional Open, in addition to finishing in the runner-up position at the 2018 & 2019 National Junior Olympics.

Still a high school senior, Amir describes himself as an all-around boxer with a unique style in which he can box or bang, hit the angles and throw a lot of punches.

Like every amateur boxer, last year was a tremendous challenge to train, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.  “I trained six hours a day in my basement to get in really good workouts,” Anderson said. “And I ran my miles, too. When my gym opened-up last July 2nd, it was limited so I had to still workout in my basement. It was hard to stay focused, but I knew how.

“I really planned to win a lot of regional and national tournaments to get national recognition. I wanted to fight in Bulgaria with the junior team, but that was canceled, too. The pandemic was a setback for me, but we’ll see what’s in store for 2021.”

The National Championships is the first trip towards Amir Anderson’s Parisian goal for 2024 at the Olympics.