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Wilson trades blows with international foes

The international flavor of boxing still lingers in the belly of 17-year-old Mike Wilson.

The Crater High senior found the international competition to be stiffer than that of his days as a member of the Bulldog Boxing Club but relishes the opportunity to jump back into the ring.

Wilson got his chance on Sunday when the 6-foot-3, 230-pound fighter set his sights on the eight-day U-19 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

After a 10-day training period with nine other U.S. fighters in Lake Placid, N.Y., Wilson and his teammates took off for the World Championships on Wednesday.

Despite the short training period on the east coast, Wilson feels prepared for the competition, which features nearly 350 fighters.

The workouts were pretty intense because it's a real short camp, said Wilson on Monday of his time in New York. We've been doing some running and weight training but nothing much different than what we did with the Bulldogs. It takes up most of the day.

Wilson posted a 34-7 record while fighting with the Bulldogs but had trouble finding worthy opponents.

His first international test against Ukraine's 6-foot-6, 260-pound Oleksiy Mazlkyn in late June in Fort Worth, Texas, was a wake up call.

The Ukraine used his superior reach to quickly put the exhibition match away with a 3-0 decision but left Wilson with some valuable experience.

That first fight was tough, said Wilson. He was an Olympic fighter.

Wilson rebounded in early August to take the U-19 Championships in Gulfport, Miss.

He quickly disposed of a fighter from Georgia, 37-6, when the bout was halted in the second round due to the 15-point rule.

In the finals, Wilson pummeled Tyler Hinkey from Nevada into the third round before Hinkey retired from the match.

Wilson then found himself as an alternate on the Olympic boxing squad in the super heavyweight division.

Among the 24 fighters on the Olympic squad, he was the youngest but plans to make a return trip to the Games in 2004.

Wilson is currently ranked No. 4 in his weight class but could climb to the top spot when the new rankings are released.

As far as the international competition, Wilson thinks the U.S. is far and above the rest.

USA is one of the toughest countries as far as boxing goes, said Wilson. It also depends on what country you are competing against but there are some very good fighters over here.