Joseph Brown may be one of the most inexperienced undefeated boxers in the history of the sport.
At the very least, the 11-year-old Surrey resident is in the conversation, considering his lone bout – which he won in convincing fashion – lasted all of 10 seconds.
Brown, who trains under Stephen Lapre at South Surrey’s Ocean City Boxing – a sub-group of Dragon’s Den Martial Arts – earned a TKO victory at the Sooke Slam on Oct. 14. The fight was the first of his young career, having only first stepped into the ring last June.
“I was really excited (for the fight)… but I was surprised. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it that fast,” said the William F. Davidson Elementary student, who fought in the 11/12-year-old, 95-pound division.
Brown told Peace Arch News last week that his dad, Martin, got him interested in the sport – “He used to do boxing and was really good at it,” the youngster explained – but after signing up to train last summer, it was Lapre and the rest of the members of the gym that helped him hone not just his skills but his love for the sport.
And while no one expected a 10-second-long fight – especially considering Brown’s opponent already had a few bouts under his belt – Lapre was quick to praise the young pugilist, not just for his skills but also for his in-ring intelligence.
It’s why he didn’t hesitate to put Brown’s name forward for the Sooke fight, when event organizers called looking for someone to match up with another young fighter in the ring.
“I’d been training Joseph for a little bit at that point, and I figured he’d be a good fit because he’s just a good, natural talent – especially when it comes to learning, nevermind the physical skills,” Lapre explained.
“He picks things up very quickly, and he knows how to use the skills strategically (in a fight). You can have a lot of physical things going for you, and be able to throw (punches)… but the most important thing is how can you apply those skills, and make them work (against an opponent).
“Thats the one thing that sets Joseph apart from all the other kids I’ve trained over the years – he has that innate sense… in the ring. For a boy that young to be able to do that, that’s a rarity.”
And though Lapre – being the experienced coach and trainer that he is – is able to break down and analyze the short fight, as well as the finer details of his young pupil’s skills, Brown himself is much more succinct when describing his debut performance.
“First, the bell rang, then I threw a couple jabs, then a hook. Then he got wobbly and he started backing up. That’s when I just went for it, until the ref stopped it,” he explained.
“I got hit a few times, but not a lot. I felt really good afterwards.”
Both coach and boxer attribute Brown’s initial success to a steady diet of training and sparring sessions, highlighted by an intense regime in the three weeks leading up to the Sooke Slam. Over the course of three weeks, Brown was at Dragon’s Den every day, and logged nearly 120 rounds of sparring – often against adult competition.
“He had some very good sparring partners, and he did a lot of rounds with me, too, where I’d put gear on and give him a live target to focus on in the ring,” Lapre said.
Brown said he wasn’t intimidated by his older sparring partners, and credits those sessions for helping him in the ring during his first fight, and alleviating some of the pressure one might feel when stepping through the ropes for the first time.
“It was good for me, and it was fun. Not a lot of kids get that chance to spar with adults, and it helped me a lot. If I’m sparring a 20 year old, and doing pretty good, then how will it go when I have to go against someone my age?” he said.
Brown doesn’t currently have a second fight on the horizon, and instead plans to continue his training with Lapre. And while it may seem difficult – perhaps even impossible – to improve on a 10-second first fight, he does have an even lower number to focus on.
“My fight ended pretty fast… but the fastest knockout in amateur boxing was set by Mike Tyson, so I’m just two seconds off that record,” he said.