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Never too late for a knockout

Newcastle resident Grant Allen is picking up boxing in a hurry
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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Grant Allen took up boxing at a later age than many in the sport usually do. Still, the 23-year-old has been a quick study. Allen, who trains at the Newcastle Ringside Gym, picked up the second victory of his career on March 29, beating fellow 152-pounder Ariel Jacob of Rodeo at an event put on by the Marin City Boxing Club of San Rafael. Grant's a great student, said Greg Kirkpatrick, Allen's trainer. Anything I try to teach him, he really concentrates on. He's never been a natural, Kirkpatrick added. But he picks things up, as far as boxing, real quick. A lot of guys who are more natural don't have the dedication and heart that he has, and he's passed up some guys who have (more natural ability) because he's so dedicated and hard-working. I think he can accomplish things as long as he keeps working hard and sticking with it. Allen was one of four Newcastle boxers to win bouts at the San Rafael event. The others were Javier Martinez, 17, at 139 pounds; Alex Freire, 17, at 150; and Maxx Freire, 11, at 84. Allen has only been boxing for two years and fighting competitively for one. His record currently stands at 2-4, though Kirkpatrick called the mark deceiving. In two of those fights, I kind of thought he got robbed, Kirkpatrick said. I thought he should have won those fights. His record really should be 4-2. Allen decided to give boxing a try when his family moved out to Newcastle from Roseville. Since then, he said, the sport kind of bit me, and I stuck with it. The gym was only four miles away, and I thought it would be fun and a good workout, Allen said. Most of the sports I've been into are high-intensity and very competitive. I like sports where I can push myself and it becomes a battle of wills almost. Allen said conditioning has played a huge part in the success he's had in the ring thus far. I go in there in great condition, he said. I'm able to throw a lot of punches and stay strong the whole time. I'm also good at getting in a lot of body shots. Outside the ring, Allen balances being a student at American River College in Sacramento with working for the City of Roseville as part of its Adventure Club after-school program for elementary schoolers. He eventually hopes to transfer to UC Davis and pursue an engineering degree. As far as his goals in boxing go, Allen hopes to compete in next year's Golden Gloves tournament. He has no aspirations of turning pro just yet. Going pro, I need a lot more experience and have a lot more fights to go through before I can consider that, Allen said. I have a lot more to learn. Still, Allen is on his way. He's improving all the time, the trainer said. Part of what amateur boxing is is a learning process. After losses, he doesn't get discouraged. He just gets right back in the gym and starts improving.