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'He's a human bulldozer'

Hadorn debuts in Golden Gloves state finals

Zack Hadorn (left), amateur boxer and OHS junior, trains with his coach Shane Blower at Strike Fitness Club (275 S. Glaspie St.) in Oxford. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)

Zack Hadorn (left), amateur boxer and OHS junior, trains with his coach Shane Blower at Strike Fitness Club (275 S. Glaspie St.) in Oxford. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
April 11, 2012 - He didn't bring home a championship from the 2012 Michigan Golden Gloves Tournament, but Zack Hadorn most definitely established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the ring.

"He's a human bulldozer. He truly is," said Jamey Siterlet, who coaches Zack along with Shane Blower and Cliff Cummings. "There's nothing he can't do."

The 17-year-old Oxford High School junior was a finalist in the March 30-31 tournament held at the Grand Valley National Guard Armory in Wyoming, Michigan.

"I think I did good (considering) it was the fourth fight of my career," Zack said. "I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far."

"I think it was amazing that after a year of training and only having four fights under his belt, he got to the championship level," said Zack's father, Alain Hadorn. "I think it's outstanding."

Unfortunately, Zack – who boxes in the 201-plus-pound, novice division (super heavyweight) – was defeated in a 5-0 judges' decision after battling 25-year-old Wyoming boxer Tyler Jackson for three, 2-minute rounds.

"It went the distance," Alain said. "As a parent, I would say Zack won the first round, the other guy won the second round and I would have called the third round a push, but apparently the judges saw it differently than I did."

In the first round, Zack, who weighs 217 pounds, forced a standing eight count on Jackson.

Blower indicated Zack's loss was largely due to "inexperience."

"The guy he fought had been around a while," he said. "He was an older, more mature fighter. Zack had him hurt in the first round, but then the guy just laid on Zack and he really didn't have enough ring experience to know how to get out of it. (Jackson) was tying him up, leaning on him and it wore (Zack) down. That's typical of young fighters."

Despite the loss, Alain was very impressed with his son's performance.

"I think he did extremely well," he said.

Zack, who plays football for OHS, earned his spot in the finals by handily defeating an opponent in the semifinals the day before.

"It was a first-round knockout – about one-and-a-half minutes into the first round," Alain said. "He was a big kid, too."

Right now, Zack's boxing record stands at 3-1.

Not too shabby for a guy who only started training approximately a year ago at Strike Fitness Club (275 S. Glaspie St.) in Oxford. The club is co-owned by Blower and Siterlet.

When Zack first announced his intention to enter the world of competitive boxing, Alain said he was "hopeful" his son would do well in the ring. That hope quickly grew into "confidence" as Zack won his first three bouts.

"His size and his strength are what's helping him right now," Alain said. "If he gets some technique behind him, then yeah, he could really have a good amateur career."

Zack's coaches agree that he's definitely got loads of "raw talent."

"He's speed, his strength, everything – it's all there," Siterlet said.

"For a heavyweight, he has great movement," Blower said. "For his size, he's fast."

Blower noted when it comes to learning new things and taking direction, Zack soaks it all up like a "sponge."

"He's come a long way in a short time," Cummings added.

In order to advance from the novice division to the open division in amateur boxing, Zack must either win two more fights, for a total of five victories, or box in a total of at least 10 bouts. Zack's next fight is Saturday, April 21 in Bay City.

"I'm hoping to get to the open class," Zack said. "If it gets to the point where I could go pro, I would pursue it. But I haven't really thought about it that much right now."

Blower sees a bright future in boxing for Zack, if he wants it and is willing to go the distance.

"He could be a state and national champion (in Golden Gloves) with just a little more experience," he said. "As a heavyweight, he has what it takes – just need to polish him up. I definitely think he could go pro."

After watching Zack fight, Michigan Golden Gloves Hall of Famer Dale Grable told Blower he "has what it takes."

"He made his presence known," Blower said.

Zack said he enjoys boxing for the same reasons he loves playing football – the adrenaline rush, the physical challenge and the pure fun of it.

In order to prepare for his fights, Zack spends a minimum of two hours per day, five to six days a week, training at Strike Fitness.

"It's not something you can just stop in every now and then, and do," he said.

Zack's fight training is on top of all the working out he already does in the high school's weight room and when he's practicing with the football team.

"The kid trains from sun up to sun down," Blower said.

Siterlet recalled how last year, Zack would do two practices a day with the football team, then come to Strike Fitness and engage in a full workout each night.

"He wouldn't slow down for anything," Siterlet said. "That's pretty rare. Most kids who come here, after about two hours, they're pretty well burned up and that's all they've done all day."

"He just has the drive, the will," Blower added. "He's a hard worker. He knows what he wants, he sets a goal and he goes for it."

In addition to paying off in the ring, Zack expects this extra training to make him a better player on the gridiron this fall.

"It's helped improve my speed and agility," he said.

While it's clear that Zack's stamina and natural ability are off the charts, what really impresses Siterlet is his attitude and how respectful he is of others.

"Everybody loves him," he said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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