Nine-year-old Stearns has boxing in his bloodKO Digest honors Wyman Boxing Club's youngest athlete
Stockton Springs — By all accounts, Wyatt Stearns has had an exceptional year in the boxing ring.
The 9-year-old, who attends the Leroy Smith School in Winterport, was named the outstanding fighter of the night following the live amateur boxing event that Wyman's Boxing Club organized in June at Belfast Area High School.
Then, after the ninth annual Fight to Educate benefit boxing tournament in Manchester, N.H., which took place Sept. 20, KO Digest named Stearns the outstanding boxer for that event after Stearns overtook his opponent, Angel Tricoche, of Haverhill, Mass.
"That's a big deal," said Ken "Skeet" Wyman, owner and operator of Wyman's Boxing Club in Stockton Springs. "When a place like that takes the opportunity to award a 9-year-old with the honor of the outstanding boxer of the night award, you know you've done something right."
Stearns agreed with his coach's assessment of his latest accomplishment.
"It was amazing," said Stearns, who competes in the 80-pound weight class.
Stearns has been training with Wyman's boxers since he was 7 years old. The youth said he initially took an interest in boxing because of the experiences of his father, Greg. The elder Stearns fought with Wyman as a member of the Waldo County Boxing Club team under the guidance of the late Bruce Copson more than 25 years ago.
Now a school resource officer at Belfast Area High School, Belfast police officer and assistant coach at Wyman's, Greg said his son was rendered speechless when he learned of the recognition he had received from KO Digest.
"For the next week after I got the KO Digest award and the outstanding fighter of the night award here [in Belfast], I kept saying to my dad, 'I can't believe I got it'," said the younger Stearns.
But his father and Wyman said they know exactly why the pint-sized fighter already has started making a name for himself in the local boxing world, and both agree it is a combination of his work ethic and exceptional attitude.
"He's a very dedicated young man," said Wyman. "He doesn't do this because his dad thinks he should do it, or because I think he should do it, Wyatt does it because Wyatt thinks he should do it."
Stearns said he routinely runs more than a mile a day and completes eight miles on a stationary bike set to a resistance that his father said is equal to the incline of Main Street hill in Belfast.
Stearns also trains at Wyman's gym three times a week, where the youngster often spars with fighters more than twice his age and weight.
It is something Stearns said has been good for developing his skills in the ring, as well as establishing friendships that likely will last longer than his own boxing career.
"It's an honor to have all of these big people to look up to," he said.
And Stearns said each of Wyman's more seasoned boxers has helped him learn what he needs to know to accomplish his goals.
"I want to be like one of my friends, Demetrius Andrade. I want to be like him because he's ranked number four in the world and because he's my favorite boxer," said Stearns, who added that Andrade also made the Olympic boxing team, which is another one of his own future goals.
During his partnership with Wyman's, Stearns has had the chance to meet Andrade, who, like Stearns, began boxing as a young boy and quickly earned the nickname "Boo Boo." In addition to his favorite boxer, Stearns also has met boxing legends like Mickey Ward, John Ruiz and Buster Douglas.
For other young aspiring boxers, Stearns advises anyone who thinks they might enjoy the sport to get in the ring and give it a shot.
"Just try it, and if you think it's good, just go with the flow, basically," said Stearns.