Blake bounces back in ring

Placer grad glad to be boxing again after wrist injury
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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Will Blake really appreciates the ability to throw a left jab. He spent most of 2008 unable to perform the essential boxing skill. Since Blake was able to get back in the ring midway through last year, he’s immersed himself in the sport. “I tried football, track, soccer and I never found a sport that I really liked,” said Blake, who graduated from Placer High in ‘08. “Boxing is hard. It’s challenging and I like that.” Under the tutelage of Greg Kirkpatrick at Newcastle’s Ringside Gym, Blake flew threw the novice ranks with an impressive 9-1 record. Not bad considering his first fight was only in November. “He’s just in phenomenal shape,” said Kirkpatrick, who has owned Ringside for about 12 years. “He moves really well and guys can’t deal with the volume of punches coming at them.” Blake’s crowning achievement to this point in his brief career is a gold medal he won at the Sacramento area Golden Gloves Tournament last month. Competing in the 152-pound division, Blake fought four matches in four days, winning all of them, mostly against more experienced fighters. Blake attends Sierra College and plans on majoring in kinesiology when he transfers to a four-year school. He’s interested in physical therapy, which is appropriate considering his lengthy recovery from an injury that delayed his amateur boxing debut. After over-shooting a jump on his snowboard, Blake landed on his wrist, rupturing a muscle. He had just started working out casually at Kirkpatrick’s gym, but he couldn’t put on the gloves for a full year. When he was finally able to box again, Blake decided to get serious. He became one of the most faithful students at Ringside and within six months he was ready for his first bout. He won. But then lost his second – a defeat he avenged a few months later. He gives much of the credit for his success to Kirkpatrick’s expertise. “Having a good coach is key,” he said. “And just hard work. I’m trying to get better all the time.” Blake’s also gotten a dose of confidence from his time between the ropes. “The mental aspect is a big part of the sport,” Blake said. “You have to have confidence.” Next up for Blake is his first test in the open division. He doesn’t have anything scheduled yet, but plans to be back in the ring soon. “I plan on boxing for a long time,” he said. Now that he can throw that quick jab again, Blake doesn’t want to wait around.