CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Clarksville’s Olivia Reeves competed in the 2nd Annual Atlanta Classic All-Female Boxing Tournament this past weekend in Georgia and has returned home with a championship belt around her waist.
The 11-year-old boxer captured the title after winning her age group’s Bantamweight class.
While at the tournament, Reeves got the opportunity to meet WBC female super lightweight and WBA super lightweight titleholder Jessica McCaskill.
Reeves shared what advice the fellow champion had to give her during their conversation.
“She told me how to be a boxer and to train hard,” Reeves said. “She also talked to me about the importance of mental focus, hard work and to never give up.”
Reeves first began her journey at American Pride Boxing Academy eight months ago after becoming a target of bullying.
“I had a lot of trouble at school because of it,” Reeves said. “Boxing helps me to be able to protect myself and relieve negative energy and anger.”
She is currently being trained by local boxing coach Kris Clements.
“He’s amazing,” Reeves said of her coach. “He gives me a lot of attention and is dedicated to helping me and all of the other kids.”
Clements has previously worked with the likes of IBC super middleweight champion Caleb Plant and active UFC fighter Nate Landwehr.
“Way back in the day when I came up with boxing, I was at Music City,” Clements said. “Caleb had just gone from kickboxing to boxing. We sparred a lot and it was really just me and him in the gym for four or five months. He lived at my house for a few weeks before I joined the military a little bit after that. It’s pretty cool to see the same drive and motivation that he had, now in Olivia. It’s something as a coach you latch onto.”
Clements was at first a bit skeptical of how serious Olivia was planning to take the sport but says she’s more than put those thoughts to bed after witnessing the strong work ethic she’s displayed to this point.
“A lot of times girls don’t really box. They do other sports,” Clements said. “I thought maybe it would be a few months sort of thing and then she might quit. As the weeks go by, I’m starting to see how dedicated she really is to this. She gets to level one, level two, then level three and before you know it, she’s sparring. Moving forward, I don’t see anything but more growth and her getting stronger.”
Olivia’s father Bryan Reeves decided boxing would be a positive outlet for his daughter to help combat the bullying she was previously facing.
“I have family and relatives that box in Houston, but it was never really on my radar to do,” Bryan said. “My daughter has been chomping at the bit to get started with boxing since being bullied. One thing led to another and we found Coach Kris. It’s just been awesome since.’
Clements discussed what it is like to be able to have a student such as Olivia and how he’s seen her grow since her first day in the gym.
“Her presence is known as soon as she steps in the ring now,” Clements said. “She works extremely hard. I’m absolutely crazy if I don’t sit there and work as hard as this girl is working. She’s not coming in here and saying, ‘No I don’t want to be here.’ I have to keep her out of the gym at times and tell her to take a breath. She’s very humble and it’s great to see her continue to grow. It’s like her dreams have become my dreams.”
Olivia, who currently attends Pisgah Elementary School, says she’s seen her quality of life improve in many ways since picking up the sport of boxing.
“I’m much happier now,” Olivia said. “I’m also more calm and relaxed as a result.”
As a parent, Bryan believes there is no better feeling than watching a child succeed in something they enjoy doing.
“It’s heartwarming, it’s humbling and just extremely prideful,” Bryan said. “It reminds me of when I was a kid again…I’m almost at a loss of words.”
When it comes to future competitions for the rest of the year, Olivia still has a lot of goals left to smash on the agenda for 2020.
“Next up, she has a match on March 7th in Jackson,” Bryan said. “Following that on April 18th, she has a showcase back in Atlanta that features all amateur boxers. In July, she’s registered for Christy Martin’s Title Invitational who is a former champion and fight promoter for this region. Getting Olivia out there in the public’s eye, showcasing her ability and what her coaches have taught her is going to carry her along her path to what she wants to do in life.”