YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Zion Hensley got hooked on boxing at 8 years old when she started playing with some old equipment in her uncle’s basement. Her dad saw the interest and signed her up at Jack Loew’s Southside Boxing Club.
“You know, I’m not a big fan of a pretty little blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl coming into my gym at 9 years old and wanting to be a boxer,” Jack Loew said. “But it changed real quick.”
You see, Hensley isn’t your typical 10-year-old.
“Yeah, no, she doesn’t do anything lightly,” Loew said. “She works hard. She runs hills at the Lake Milton dam. She runs around with logs on her shoulder. She is one of the hardest, toughest, little 10-year-old girls I’ve met and it’s no joke to her.”
Hensley got her first bloody nose in a recent sparring session and the picture went viral, with thousands of people commenting on social media.
“I don’t really care for the picture because I have blood all over my face,” Hensley said. “The fighter hit me in the nose. It was a good jab.”
And the training paid off during her first fight in Akron.
“Well, I actually was kind of nervous, but excited at the same time, because it was my first fight,” Hensley said. “But then once I got through the first round, I was excited.”
The second round didn’t last long. Hensley won by TKO and easily won the rest of the state tournament.
Next up is the regionals this weekend in Cleveland, then the junior nationals in Kansas City.
Loew said Hensley’s got a real shot at winning the Silver Gloves National Championship, which would make her the number-one ranked 70-pound, 10-year-old female fighter in the country.
“The jury is still out,” he said. “She’s 10 years old. Her dream is to go to the Olympics. Her dream is to turn pro but she’s 10 years old, so we’ll see where this goes.”