Jeremy McCleary, the 125-pound Plateau pugilist got off on the right foot at Junior Olympic Nationals in Camp Lejuene, N.C.
McCleary, a White River High junior, broke out in the preliminaries, taking a unanimous decision over Anthony McDonald of Nebraska.
“Against McDonald, I didn’t get over anxious, remained calm and just fought within my comfort zone,” bantamweight said. “I went straight at him, racked up some points with different combinations of punches, then backed off before he could retaliate.”
The next day McCleary met his match against veteran Chicago boxer Penny Simms Jr.
“Simms just had way more experience than I did. He didn’t knock me out or anything, but being the more seasoned fighter he piled up the points and won a clear decision,” McCleary said. “I learned a few lessons from that fight though and basically chalked it up to experience. It is nothing to be hanging my head about.”