AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State boxer made history last year by winning the school's first National Championship. This spring, the junior from Dyersville will compete for back-to-back titles.
“You see the raw talent,” said ISU Boxing Coach Jon Swanson.
It's what you don't see that Coach Swanson says makes a champion.
“They have to have that warrior spirit and what I mean by that is that they have to have perseverance and discipline,” he said.
Olivia Meyer has both. She trains twice a day to keep her undefeated record.
Meyer stepped into the ring her freshman year after joining the school's boxing club.
“Boxing seemed to be something different and you see it in the movies and on TV and I think it sparked an interest in me,” explained Meyer.
Her interest grew a year later when the National Collegiate Boxing Association opened the sport to women. Last April at West Point, she faced a more experienced boxer in the championship round and pulled off the upset in the 147 pound weight class.
“You feel like everything is going to give out. Your knees are weak, your hands are shaky, you feel like you`re going to throw up, but at the same time, you feel like you can run a marathon. You get tunnel vision and you can`t hear anything once you step in there. It`s just you and your opponent,” said Meyer.
In a sport dominated by men, Meyer is one of the only female fighters at most tournaments. But in the gym, she’s just one of the guys.
“She can pressure really well. She`s got a really fantastic left hook,” said Swanson.
“I think probably the biggest compliment that I get is if I`m in the ring and they go, ‘Wow, that three was killer’,” said the boxing champ.
This spring, Meyer wants to repeat history and bring home another championship to Iowa State.
“That motivates me too because now that people know that I`ve gotten that title, I want to keep that title and defend that title so I have to work my butt off even harder,” she said.
In March, the ISU Boxing Club is hosting the regional tournament in Ames. Meyer and her teammates will compete at Nationals in Florida the following month.