CCGA student among the winnersFrom left to right, Dalton Zachery, left, 14, trainer Josef Szasz, Cole Harvey, 20, and Charles Truesdell, 20, pose for a photo after medaling at the Georgia Games.
When Jozsef Szasz opened his gym 10 years ago, he did it with young talent like Dalton Zachery, Charles Truesdell and Cole Harvey in mind.
Szasz, born in Transylvania but of Hungarian descent, launched the Brunswick Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts gym on Gloucester Street in 2006. Since then, he’s trained a number of talented young boxers. The last two years, he's been granted three particularly impressive competitors.
On July 18, Szasz took Zachery, Truesdell and Harvey to Atlanta for the Georgia Games, an event started in 1989 to help Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic bid. All three medaled, with Zachery and Truesdell claiming gold medals in the first tournament of their careers.
“That was my plan, to raise kids like that from scratch, all the way to the top,” Szasz said. “They’re progressing real good, a lot better than I thought, to be honest with you.”
Zachery, 14, the youngest member at the gym, put on a particularly spectacular show at the Georgia Games. There weren’t any other fighters in his age group, so USA Boxing waived a rule that prevents 14-year-olds from competing against anyone over the age of 15.
After blazing past his semifinal opponent, Zachery met up with a 16-year-old from South Carolina. Zachery also had to move up a weight class, fighting in the 128-pound class as opposed to his normal 123-pound division.
It was barely a contest, as he coasted to a gold medal in his first tournament.
“I was nervous,” Zachery said. “But during and after the fight, it was just awesome. I don’t think I’ll be nervous anymore.”
Szasz had never seen anything like it from a first-timer. He recalled his own first competition and remembered how he “got beat up” against someone his own size and age.
For a fighter like Zachery to do what he did, it takes a special combination of skill and determination.
“Dalton, you know what, he could be up at the top,” Szasz said. “He’s got the heart. You can’t teach heart. He goes forward, non-stop, against an older, stronger guy. I can’t teach that.”
Similar to Zachery, Harvey is in the Brunswick Boxing gym on a daily basis to fine-tune his craft.
The 20-year-old, has been training for two years now and has gotten to compete in several tournaments. Last weekend was his third, and he claimed his second-consecutive silver medal at the Georgia Games.
He thought he did well enough to warrant a victory in 2014, but judges narrowly gave the nod to his opponent. This year, in his championship bout, the Brunswick High School graduate and College of Coastal Georgia student matched up against a left-handed fighter, something he’d never seen before in an actual competition.
“It was a good experience. It was a learning experience. I fought a southpaw for the first time,” Harvey said. “Now I can go back to training and work on what I need to work on. He had a good straight left hand, dropped me in the first round, but I kept on coming forward, pushing the pace. It ended up being a good fight in the finals.”
Harvey ended up getting knocked down two more times throughout the fight, but Szasz was amazed by his pupil’s determination to continue. Apparently, so was the crowd, who offered Harvey a standing ovation during the medal ceremony despite the second-place finish.
“Everybody was standing up, cheering,” Szasz said. “That was one of the most exciting fights. He was upset because he got knocked down. I told him to not care, keep going. He was pushing the fight. He’s got so much heart.”
The gym’s third and final competitor at the Georgia Games, Truesdell, is currently stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, and his boxing coach there used to train with Szasz. From time to time, Truesdell will go over to Brunswick Boxing to perfect his techniques under Szasz’s tutelage.
Fighting in the 165-pound weight class, Truesdell, 20, stormed past the competition to claim the gold medal. Like Zachery, last weekend was his first tournament, though it’s far from his last.
He has high expectations for his boxing future.
“I’m hoping to first win Golden Gloves, join the Navy boxing team, go to nationals, the Olympics,” Truesdell said. “I wish to go pro and maybe go for the world title one of these days.”
Despite competing in a pair of two-minute, three-round fights this past weekend, they were back to work this week. Zachery was back in the gym on Monday to continue his strict workout regimen, something he’ll have to continue if he wants to achieve his lofty goals of going pro, something Szasz thinks he can do with the right preparation.
After all, Zachery has the right mindset.
I want to go pro. Whoever comes up, comes up,” he said. “And then I’ll beat the guy.”
The Brunswick News
July 23, 2015