All-Army Light Welterweight champ sets sights on Olympic gold
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea - Sgt. Anthony Nunez knows how to take a punch, but he can dish them out too.
Nunez, a Patriot missile launching station operator/maintainer assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery out of Camp Carroll, South Korea, recently earned the title of All-Army light welterweight boxing champ during the Army's 2014 competition held at Fort Huachuca Sept.
12 and 13.
"I can still remember my first match," said Nunez. "I was nervous and excited. My whole family was there to watch. And I lost in just seconds. My little brother was crying."
But Nunez said this didn't prevent him from getting back into the ring.
"It wasn't even an option [to quit]," he said.
Nunez was introduced to boxing while attending college in New York and joined the Army with their boxing program already in mind.
"As soon as I arrived to Korea, I knew I wanted to apply for boxing camp," Nunez said.
However, the application deadline for the training camp had past.
Again, Nunez refused to be counted out. He decided to go pro.
And after arranging his first bout and preparing professional license paperwork, Nunez was approached by the local sports director.
"I was in the gym and I saw this guy with an incredible skill, crazy old-style skill and I asked him where he boxed," said Carlos Algarin, Camp Carroll sports director. "He told me he was about to have his first professional fight in a Korean ring downtown," he said.
"I convinced him to hold off on the fight. To keep his amateur status. I told him All-Army boxing could be his ticket to bigger, better things," Algarin said.
Algarin encouraged Nunez to submit his application for the All-Army boxing camp, despite the deadline.
Nunez and 39 other Soldiers arrived to attend the boxing camp in 2013. Only 25 Soldiers remained by the start of the All-Army boxing competition.
"Trying at that level isn't for everyone," said Nunez. "The workouts and regimen are really challenging and when you add the very strict diet along with it, fatigue really comes into play."
Nunez attended two All-Army boxing camps and finally earned his title in the 2014 All-Army boxing competition as the light welterweight champ.
He continues to train.
Nunez runs five days a week, three long-distance runs and two days of sprints. Five days a week he conducts boxing drills and he spars at least two days out of the week. Throughout the week Nunez performs calisthenics and plyometric workouts, in addition to Physical Readiness
Training with his unit.
Nunez says his goal has expanded to attend the Olympics.
"My goal has always been to go as far I can with amateur boxing," Nunez said. "As I continued to excel, my goal expanded," he said.
Nunez said he will continue to push himself physically to excel in the ring with hopes of one day standing atop a three tiered podium and watching the American flag rise in his honor.