MADISON, Wisc. — Cambridge High School rising senior Mike Hudson captured his sixth national championship June 29 by winning gold at the USA Boxing National Junior Olympics. Hudson retained his No. 1 national ranking by USA Boxing in the 17-18-year old heavyweight division by winning all five of his bouts in Madison, Wisc.
“There was a lot of pressure to defend the title, but I went to execute and do what I thought I could do best to win,” Hudson said.
After breezing through his first four bouts, Hudson matched up with Michigan’s Albert Ballard, the No. 2 ranked heavyweight by USA Boxing, in the finals.
Ballard was a formidable challenge and had the advantage in reach and height, but Hudson said he performed well during the fight.
“I had gotten hold of some film, so we studied him and came up with a fight plan,” he said. “We knew we had to take the fight to him. We wanted to use an inside fighting style and take him to the ropes. He has really good footwork, but footwork doesn’t work if you’re on the ropes.”
The title bout featuring the top two nationally ranked heavyweights went its full three rounds, and it was ultimately Hudson’s arm that was raised by the referee with the Cambridge student taking the gold through a split decision.
With a half-dozen national titles under his belt, Hudson now has his eyes set on the world stage.
He will soon travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col., to train with older, “Elite” fighters training for the upcoming Pan American Games.
“That will be a lot of fun and good training, it’s hard to get sparring partners here in Georgia,” he said.
After working closely with USA Boxing’s Elite fighters, Hudson will attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The 18-year old said competing at the Olympics is his ultimate goal, and he aims to have his name among the eight boxers to qualify.
“Six guys have already qualified for the Olympics, and I would really like to be that number seven,” Hudson said. “I think I have a good shot, and I think I could possibly make it.”