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Tyndall Airman fights his way to his dream

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anthony J. Hyatt
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A Tyndall member won second place for his weight class in the Air Force Box Off tournament April 3 at the Bennett Fitness Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Senior Airman Jerome Thames, 325th Security Forces Squadron desk sergeant, fought his way to a silver medal in the 141-pound weight class.

The Box Off tournament's primary focus is to reiterate boxing fundamentals to prepare boxers for the Armed Forces Championship April 26 at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Military boxing follows amateur-boxing rules. Air Force boxers must be accustomed to throwing more punches in order to score points in quick three-round bouts as opposed to a professional 12-round bout.

The 22-year-old Tennessee native took an early interest in hand-combat and by age 5, he was practicing karate. In addition, Thames also had two uncles, one who was good at taekwondo and the other at boxing.

When he arrived at his first duty station four years ago, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, he became truly inspired by Tech. Sgt. Angel Landrau.

"My supervisor just took the time to train with me and push me," he said.

The Airman had the opportunity to box at Camp Humphreys, Korea, giving him his first taste of military-style boxing. He continued on this path during his first deployment to Iraq, competing in a joint-military boxing tournament at Camp Bucca, Iraq.

Due to deployment and work-hour demands, Thames often misses a number of big boxing tournaments, but he still stays true to his passion for the sport.

"I can't be selfish or mad; I understand the bigger picture at hand," he said.

His second-place achievement is credited to his total dedication to training and working out. He works out six days each week.

"Airman Thames has been training extremely hard for boxing and has made everyone in the 325th Security Forces Squadron proud of his accomplishments," said Master Sgt. Gregory Schulz, 325th SFS installation and physical security non-commissioned officer in charge. "Thames is tenacious when tackling goals and strives to overcome obstacles placed in his way."

A typical day for the senior airman begins with sprints at 3 a.m. He currently trains at the local area gym and two days a week he makes a three-hour drive to Pensacola to train with the father of world-class boxer Roy Jones Jr.

"While people are out having fun, I'm busy training all day, every day," he said. "I sometimes miss my social life, but I love my sport."

Although, boxing can be a rough, tough, dangerous, up and down roller-coaster sport, Thames has his methods of staying level-headed.

"I spend a lot of time watching comedians perform because they cheer me up by just telling people straight up how the world is," he said. "Also, when I need a 'pick-me-up,' I watch the 'greatest fights' videos of my favorite boxers like Roy Jones Jr. and Muhammad Ali fight."

Music is another outlet; Thames takes advantage of to get through his training.

"My I-Pod is my best friend," he said. "I hate running, but the music blocks out all my negative thoughts."

Despite his success in the Box Off tournament, he was not selected as one of the Airmen to fight in the Armed Forces Championship, yet he still plans to continue his vigorous training for future events.