Two-time USA National Champion Otha Jones III is heading to Argentina tomorrow to make a statement at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires, October 6-18 in Parque Polidesportivo Roca.
Jones is from the new home of amateur boxing champions, Toledo, Ohio, where the 18-year-old Jones is also making a difference in his community, especially after his brother was shot and killed a few weeks ago while he was riding a bike.
Otha first got interested in boxing after watching a YouTube boxing sensation. “I thought that was cool,” light welterweight Jones explained, “so I asked my father to take me to a gym. I soon learned that I was good at it, worked hard, and now I’m heading to the Youth Olympics.
“Fighters at all the gyms in Toledo help each other out. (2017 USA Nationals heavyweight champion) Jared Anderson is my best friend. The first year we trained at the same gym, but I never sparred with him (laughing), because he’s too big for me. We’re at different gyms now. Six Toledo boxers, five of my teammates, are in the USA Boxing program, including my sister, (welterweight) Oshae Jones, who is on the women’s Elite team competing right now in Spain. We all push each other to the limit.”
In addition to capturing gold at the last two USA National Championships, he also won top honors at the 2018 Youth Continental Championships, plus a silver medal at the 2018 Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament.
Self-described as an unorthodox boxer-puncher, Jones says he, “Throws punches from all angles. I can box well or sit and fight if I have to.”
Jones, who has a 267-11 amateur record, has already traveled and competed in Bulgaria, Hungary and Russia. He’s looking forward to experiencing Argentina, where he will live and train for two weeks in an Olympic village atmosphere.
“Making it this far to the Youth Olympic, so far, is the highlight of my career,” he said. “I love traveling to different countries to experience and learn about new cultures. My goal is to fight at the 2020 Olympics in Japan and win a gold medal. I need to improve my skills; punch harder and place my punches better.
“After the Olympics, I plan to turn pro. I want to move my family out of the ghetto and get better clothes and meals for everyone.
“I own the Soul City Gym with my brother and dad. A lot of kids in Toledo have nothing to do. We go on social media to tell these kids to come by the gym to get in shape. We are part of a program that feeds these kids. We feel that, the less time on the street, we can help stop the violence, like my brother being killed. We’re trying to get kids off the streets and in the gym.”
Jones also noted that he really enjoys training in Colorado Springs, not only because of the outstanding facilities and coaching, but for his peace of mind.
“I thought I was in top shape training in Toledo,” Jones added, “but you come here, and the air is different. After training at sea level, you get tired training here. I love it here. There are so many nice buildings and facilities, it’s like a small city, only without crime. I can be myself here.”
Otha Jones, III is making an impact in and out of the ring, whether he’s at home in Toledo, training in Colorado Springs, or competing around the world.