***image1***Two Ramstein boxers won their respective weight-class events at the U.S. Forces in Europe Boxing Championships in Wiesbaden May 8.
The fights represented one boxer’s last, while it was just the beginning for the other. James “Ladell” Heath, fighting in his 13th and final fight, took home the USFE Championship for Heavyweights.
“It’s always a plus to go out on top,” said Heath, who finished with a record of 10-3. “It keeps away that desire to try to go out and get one more.”
Heath said he plans to turn all his focus on school now, as he earns his degree.
Another Ramstein boxer and two-year training partner of Heath, Michael O’Neill also won at the USFE Championships in the 165-pound middleweight division.
O’Neill, fighting his 16th career fight, improved his record to 10-6 with his three-round win over Ansbach’s Charles Perry.
After six years of boxing on-and-off, O’Neill’s career is just starting to blossom. He started at the age of 16 in a police athletic league in New Jersey. Once he came to Ramstein he met Heath; the two quickly befriended each other. They started sparring together and working each others corners at fights.
“(Heath) really taught me to stick with it and to keep myself disciplined; he really got me moving again,” said O’Neill.
***image2***Heath also learned from O’Neill as they trained.
“He taught me some things on defense. We really fed off each other and polished each other off,” said Heath.
O’Neill, who claims this was his last fight until he moves this summer, said he wants to take boxing as far as he can. He plans on fighting in Golden Glove and other state tournaments when he returns to the states.
“If I turn pro, I would like to have 30 to 40 amateur fights under my belt first,” said O’Neill.
Heath said he believes O’Neill has what it takes to make it as a boxer and he wishes he had the same opportunities at such a young age.
“His dedication and training regime is awesome. He’s like a sponge, he picks up on everything he is taught,” said Heath. “I definitely see him going pro.”