A few weeks ago we learned about a 6th grader from eastern Iowa who has the goal of one-day wrestling in the Olympic games. We have another eastern Iowa student who hopes to one day compete at the Olympic level. This Prairie High School senior has his Olympic goals set for 2024. Both of these students are willing to put their bodies on the line to reach their goals.

Ali Monaghan is a senior at Prairie High School and it turns out he's a pretty dang good boxer. With a name like that, it seems pretty fitting he fell in love with boxing. According to KCRG, his dad was a UFC fighter and Ali has been in the gym for pretty much his entire life. It all started with his interest in mixed martial arts. He's been in and out of the gym since he could crawl.

I’ve been in the gym since I was crawling I started out with mixed martial arts, Taekwondo because that’s what my dad started off with. You can compete in boxing when you’re eight you can’t compete in MMA until you’re 18, so I ended up falling in love with boxing.

Those years of training have not only helped Ali win six national titles but he has also qualified for the Golden Gloves nationals, which take place this week in Philadelphia.

Unsplash - Bogdan Yukhymchuk
Unsplash - Bogdan Yukhymchuk

Boxing is easily one of the hardest sports in the world to become good at. There are many people who might throw on some gloves, go to a few classes, and punch a bag but to compete at the highest level is an entirely different kind of fitness. Boxing in a safe and controlled environment is a great way to get some cardio exercise for the day for the average person. 

If you've never put on a set of gloves and thrown full-out punches on a punching bag, try doing that for 30 seconds. That alone will have just about anyone gassed by the end. Now imagine doing that for 3 minute rounds, while trying to avoid being hit by someone across from you.

In my opinion, becoming a great boxer takes a completely different kind of dedication than just about any sport in the world. You literally have to learn how to physically and mentally deal with getting punched in the face.

Ali has that dedication as KCRG reports, he trains twice a day at Riot Gym, located in Cedar Rapids. He hopes to compete at the Olympics next year. He's had his sights set on the Olympics since he was in 5th grade.

He told KCRG,

One of my main goals since I was in fifth grade, is to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. I want to become a pro and I want to make a legacy out of boxing. I want to always be known to be great, achieve greatness.

You've got a new fan, Ali. I hope to one day see you reach those massive aspirations. You got it!

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