Jared Anderson: Toledo's next Olympic hopeful

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - You've heard of Toledo boxers Devin Vargas and Robert Easter Jr., but there's another name to get to know: Jared Anderson.

Growing up in north Toledo, Anderson said he was a troubled kid.

"I always ran into problems and conflicts with teachers, but I didn't know how to handle it," he said.

That's where boxing came in, a sport he said saved him.

"Boxing helped a lot with a stress reliever and it's a lot of discipline in boxing," Anderson said. "In order for me to be able to box I had to use discipline and I had to use the same thing in school. If I wanted to box then I had to use discipline and not get in trouble in school so that I could go to boxing practice the next day."

But the discipline didn't come easy at first.

"Even in boxing when I first started I had an attitude that no one could really get a hold of," he said. "I was always getting kicked out of the gym because of my attitude, but they always found a way to bring me back."

That was 10 years ago. Now he's being considered one of the biggest up and coming boxers, as well as an Olympic hopeful and possible a world champ. It's a career he didn't see coming.

"I always felt I was going to be good, but I never felt I was going to be great," Anderson said. "And for them to say I'm going to be great, it just brightens my day every day that I can hear someone think that I'm going to be the next greatest."

Anderson has had success at the junior, youth and elite levels so far as a member of Team USA. He placed fifth in the 2015 Junior World Championships in Russia. Last August he won the Bradenburg Cup in Germany.

Back in December, Anderson, not yet ranked as an elite boxer, knocked off the number one, two and fifth-ranked boxers to take home the USA Boxing Heavyweight National Championship.

In addition to his national title, Anderson also earned the Most Outstanding Boxer Award.

"They thought I was the underdog," he said. "They didn't expect an 18-year-old to come with so much pressure, and so much force and I feel like my speed and my abilities helped me win and beat everybody I beat."

Growing up in Toledo, Anderson looked up to Vargas, Easter Jr., Tyler McCreary, Sonny Fredrickson and Albert Bell among others.

"It's a support system," Anderson explained. "It helps me and it helps everybody around to know that we have each other's back, and we all build each other so that we all can be great in our own way."

But unlike the other Toledo boxers, you won't see Anderson turning pro just yet. He has a big goal he wants to achieve first.

"After the 2020 Olympics," he said. "I plan on going to the Olympics and winning gold and representing our country to the best of my ability."

And he's well on his way. The 6 foot 2, 200-pound heavyweight spends his time training with other Team USA boxers in Colorado Springs. Anderson said another win at nationals next year and winning qualifiers should be his ticket to Tokyo in 2020.

"When you say Toledo, some people will say, 'Huh,' and they don't understand where we're from and what we do here, but it's for sure going to be a big name one day," Anderson said.

Besides his size, the Scott High School grad said his speed plays a big role in his success.

"To be as big as I am, I have pretty good speed, and that's what I use to get an advantage on people," he said.

With only being 18 years old, his coaches and trainers expect him to keep growing, making the outlook on his future a bright one. There are even talks of him being the next heavyweight world champ already loom around his name. It's a thought that's surreal to him.

"It really is surreal to think that I could be a great one day, and somebody can look up to me and I can inspire somebody to become a boxer," said Anderson.

But he's not letting all the talk get to his head, instead he's staying focused on his Olympic goals and taking it day-by-day.

"It's a quote from Claressa Shields that reads on the USA boxing wall, 'Your best is never enough because your best is always yet to come'," Anderson said. "I really got close to that quote because I feel like just because you did so much at an early age, doesn't mean you can't always get better. There's always room for improvement."

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