Road to Glory

Having won three of his last four national competitions, including a junior Olympic gold medal, “Hit man” Haven Brady is on his way to the top of a fiercely competitive sport.

Effective aggression: that’s boxing parlance for a bellicose yet controlled fighting style that puts its practitioner in command of his opponent and the scorecards. Georgia boxing prodigy “Hit Man” Haven Brady Jr. has made this an art in and out of the ring, and his rising mastery of the sweet science may propel him from top amateur to professional standout.

The 17-year-old Albany native sits atop the junior rankings at lightweight, having won three of his last four national competitions, including a junior Olympic gold medal in June. But equally impressive are his academic pursuits: he’s a dual-enrollment student at Westover High School and Albany Technical College in Albany Ga.

“He’s a freak of nature, man,” Brady’s father Haven Brady Sr. laughed. “He goes to high school in the morning, leaves there for the gym to train, and then he goes to college. Then he’ll come back to the gym and train the kids and then he’ll work out again.”

Brady often finds himself doing homework on planes between competitions to maintain his honor-roll grades. He has found nothing but success in the ring, but his most important competition was his runner-up finish at his first national tournament, the 2019 Western Olympic qualifier.

“That was really my first step in becoming a great boxer,” Brady said. “It motivated me. I could see how much better I was getting and I was ready to be on that level, so I said I’m going to push myself more and I’m going to win a national.”

And he did just that.

Brady earned a first-place finish at the Junior Olympics his next tournament. He won two more national gold medals, qualifying for the 2020 Olympic trials on December 7. The trouble, however, was the timing. Only 18-year-olds can compete. Brady won’t be 18 until two weeks after the trials.

The family made an appeal to USA Boxing, the amateur circuit’s governing body, for Brady to compete.

“The appeal died with the director of USA Boxing,” the elder Brady said. “He said there’s nothing he can do about it.”

They still plan to attend the trials to spar the country’s top amateurs. The younger Brady has plenty of career ahead. He is eyeing a professional debut following the 2020 games, and multiple promoters have contacted him with visions of the pro stage.

Brady hopes to pursue his degree in physical therapy at Morehouse College following his dual enrollment stint. Meanwhile, he plans to maintain his top amateur ranking, competing again in March to prepare for the next chapter.   

“It’s exciting knowing I’m one of the best, saying I beat some of the best,” said Brady. “It’s very cool.” 

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