- Mohammed Ali said it's the desire, and a dream that makes a champion. A young man in Forest county is following those words and fighting for the chance of a lifetime.
Mark Daniels Jr. knows it takes more than physical strength to beat the odds. It takes drive and determination to tackle challenges inside the ring, and beyond.
"If you have something, if you have a dream, don't ever let it go. It's hard living in a place like this where, to be honest, there's no opportunity, but if you have a dream and it burns inside you you gotta keep it alive no matter what," says Mark Jr, a boxer with the Potawatomi Warriors Boxing club.
For this young fighter, boxing is in his blood. His father was a World Masters champion, but for Mark Junior boxing is about more than winning.
"He can do what he sets his mind to, and achieve those goals, and he wants to show our community that they can too," says Mark Daniels Sr.
Mark Junior is a fighter in every sense of the word. And he knows sometimes the biggest fight is with yourself.
"I was, you know, losing myself drinking and what not... I told myself this isn't the life that I wanted and so I wanted to start being active again," said Mark Jr.
So he fought his way back, hour by hour in the gym, 6 days a week. With the dream of being great, and the goal of going pro.
"I did the hard work, I put in the work, so now I'm confident. In myself, and my guard, my defense, my offense, I have to use it all in play. When I get in there now, I'm not scared anymore, I'm pumped, I'm thrilled," says Mark Jr.
Mark Junior hopes his hard work pays off with a sponsorship, but also inspires others in his community to fight for their dreams, and gain the same respect he found through boxing.
"Bottom line is, they got to respect themselves...If they don't know how to respect themselves, how can they respect anybody else?" says Eugene Webster, a Former Champion, and Mark Junior's boxing coach.
"Anybody can do it, it's just how much you want to do it," says Mark Jr.
The Forest County Potawatomi Warriors Boxing club is run by Mark Daniels Senior. Mark Daniels Junior hopes to make his break into professional boxing, and impress a few agents, at a fight this coming February.
Written By: Kailey Burton