Just a few weeks after Errol Spence finished competing at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the 22-year-old began training to make his professional boxing debut.
On Nov. 9, Spence will box against Jonathan Garcia of Puerto Rico in Indio, Calif. The two men will meet in a junior middleweight bout.
Spence is one of five Olympians scheduled on the card. 2012 Olympians Dominic Breazele, Marcus Brown, Terrell Gausha and Rau'Shee Warren -- who all signed with the same manager as Spence did -- also are expected to make their pro debuts on the same evening. The fights will be televised on Showtime.
"I've been training ten weeks now," Spence said. "I wake up in the morning and run six miles. I hit the bag 10 rounds, hit the mitts eight rounds, and I do a little strength and conditioning at 24 Hour Fitness at nighttime every other day."
It was just about 12 weeks ago that Spence was competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. When he began his Olympic tournament, the American men had yet to win a medal.
That meant that the final hopes of the team rested with Spence, who was the last American boxer to fight. After an appeal, Spence won a match against Indian Krishan Vikas. Spence then went on to lose his quarterfinal match against Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia. His loss prevented him from coming home with a medal.
As a result, Spence and his Olympic teammates were part of the first American men's Olympic team to come home without a boxing medal for the first time in Olympic history.
Spence has moved past his Olympic performance, though, and is ready to take on the professional world of boxing. He's looking forward to the new challenges brought on by the professional ranks, including a lack of head gear and smaller gloves, because "that means more knockouts," he said.
After he fights Garcia, who has amassed a 3-3 record as a professional boxer, Spence plans to fight again on Dec. 15 in Los Angeles.That fight, too, is likely to be shown on Showtime, he said. After that, he will return to training in an effort to fight again in January or February.
The Texas native, who had 130 amateur fights, is excited about his professional debut, he said, and he's looking forward to the opportunities that could come his way.
"It's a great thing to be with the best of the best and a great opportunity," Spence said. "Hopefully by this time next year I'll be fighting for a world title."
Read more from this author: Olympic Boxer Rau'Shee Warren Hopes the Third Time is the Charm
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, she had the opportunity to live in the Olympic Training Center alongside some of the amateur boxers. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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- 2012 London Olympic Games