Local Rolfe becomes Maine’s first USA New England heavyweight boxing champion
WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Fairfield’s Justin Rolfe recently became the first Mainer to win the USA New England regional heavyweight boxing title. A step in his goal to earn the state more respect in the sport.
“I’m New England’s champion,” says Fairfield’s Justin Rolfe, “but I knew for my community, from Maine, what this would do. You don’t have to get out of Maine to do what you want to do. You don’t have to get out of Maine to be anything.”
Justin Rolfe knows first hand what hard work can do. He won a national powerlifting title when he was 15 years old and headed into the amateur boxing ranks...
“I have been in the sport 7, 8 years now,” says Rolfe, “I was an amateur a long time. I’ve gone through concussions, layoffs with that. I had back surgery. I was out another year with that.”
Through it all, Justin transitioned to pro boxing and earned his title shot.
“He only had 5 (pro) fights leading into this fight,” says Justin’s trainer Michael Leary, “It’s a little unusual to have a shot at a title this early. But it was placed in front of us and we took it.”
Their opponent Tracey Johnson fought Justin to a draw last November. It helped them train for this fight.
“Our focus was on cardio,” says Leary, “Which is key in boxing, especially what most heavyweights lack. We ran with my German Shepherd.”
“We were out on the baseball field and he’s making me do sprints with the German Shepherd,” Rolfe says, “And we busted hard for 2 months straight. It’s the hardest I’ve ever trained.”
It got Rolfe ready to go 8 rounds. He had only gone 6 rounds in a fight before.
“He was a formidable opponent,” says Rolfe, “It was a tough fight and he made me earn this belt every second i was in there.”
After 8 rounds, a unanimous decision, and Maine’s first ever regional heavyweight champion.
“I’ve been doing this for 24 years, it was my most exciting moment in boxing,” says Leary, “Meeting Justin... really renewed my love for the sport. It renewed my hope. I love the kid, he’s like my son. "
“This only inspires me more than ever,” says Rolfe, “I am no where near done with this sport but I know this makes everything worth it.”
Justin plans to fight again in November. Details are still being worked out.
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