By MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette — Ezra Scott Jr. simply wanted to find a personal trainer who could help him get in better shape. One year later, he’s about to try for a national boxing victory.
Scott is traveling this weekend to the Golden Gloves national tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, for which he and fellow Niagara Falls boxer K-Shawn Agee recently qualified.
Scott’s brief boxing career is also one of the most unlikely to come out of Niagara Falls, which has also seen young talents such as Agee, Nick Casal, Jamie Ventry and Jake Ventry seek to make a name for their selves in the ring.
“I started working out with him and I said part of the workout is learning how to box,” said coach Stacey Robinson at Inspire Boxing, who took Scott as a client for personal training. “It’s part of the workout. Boxing is a good exercise.”
After a short time watching Scott punch the hand pads, Robinson saw great potential.
“I asked him, ‘Have you ever boxed before?’ and he said no. I said ‘Would you like to try a boxing match?’ ” added Robinson.
Scott accepted the challenge and soon he was in the ring, facing someone who, unlike the pads he’d punched in the gym, would try to hit back.
“I was nervous, but I put all my faith into what Stacey had taught me,” Scott said. “He told me from the beginning I was going to be a champion, and he also told me that anything I go through in the gym would be harder than anything I see in the ring.”
Armed with that confidence, along with some training that included sparring matches, Scott scored a knockout in his first bout. He’s now 7-0 heading into the Golden Gloves Nationals.
Both Scott, a former multi-sport standout at Niagara Catholic, and Robinson are men of Christian faith and the Inspire gym has biblical references on its walls hanging on its walls.
While some athletes oppose the notion of being a role model, Scott embraces the thought of setting a good example for folks in his hometown.
“I hear a lot of people talk about it, setting the precedent,” said Scott. “Really, it’s what you make it. It’s about the individual. It’s about us trying to have something, to bring something to Niagara Falls. I just want to be someone that inspired others. I feel that’s the mentality a lot of us have. It’s just all about having ambition. I just hope that my drive can push others to want to achieve more.”
As men of faith, Scott and Robinson believe there is more than just happenstance that brought them together. Both walked away from good paying jobs, Scott said, to answer a different calling.
“I left my job and came back home. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Scott. “I did have intentions of moving down to Atlanta but I came out to the gym just to work out, and I think God led me to Stacy.
“Ever since, anything Stacy has said, everything I’ve prayed for, it’s happening.”
Scott and his coach are now praying they’ll return from this weekend’s travel with a national title.