YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Eleven-year-old Zion Hensley is the youngest female boxer in the Mahoning Valley.
“I’ve never seen anyone her age as good as her,” said Youngstown Salem Boxing Club Coach Alecia DeFrank.
Hensley started boxing at age eight with big goals in mind.
“I would like to become a World Champion someday and go to the Junior Olympics, which I am,” Hensley said.
Hensley will be competing in the National Junior Olympics in Lubbock, Texas. Her first fight is on Sunday, July 11.
“It’s a really big deal because this is what she trains for and this is where she can get noticed by Olympic officials, Olympic coaches and really make a name for herself in this spot,” DeFrank said.
Hensley has put in countless hours at the Youngstown Salem Boxing Club training for the big event.
“She’s in the gym with me Monday through Friday for a couple hours a day,” DeFrank added. “She’ll be here even a half-hour early, before I even get to the gym. So, she’s really dedicated and her heart is really into it.”
There are very few female boxers in the area. The Club has had to fly some in for Hensley to fight.
“It’s very hard finding girls to compete against,” DeFrank said. “We had to fly some in and we also had some from Pittsburgh to come in for her to spar and get some work.”
Hensley is feeling confident ahead of the Junior Olympics and what will be the biggest fights of her career to date.
“Well, of course, I’m looking forward to win and just have fun,” she said.