SUCCESSFUL professional boxers enjoy some of the most outrageous lifestyles on the planet but amateur Michael Martino is not interested in the lavish trappings on offer through the sport.
Instead, he is focused on one goal: ending Australia’s three-decade run without an Olympic boxing medal.
It has been 28 years since light welterweight Graeme Cheney won silver in Seoul and Australia’s next chance will not come until Tokyo 2020.
By then, 21-year-old welterweight Martino will be in his fighting prime and ready to break the drought.
“I just turned elite when the Rio Olympic qualifiers were starting and fought the Australian champion Fano Kori three times in the space of six weeks,” he said.
“He beat me each time but every fight was close and came down to points.
“When I was in my ninth fight, he was in his 90th so it was great experience and I’ve taken a lot from those losses.”
One of those losses came earlier this year at the State Boxing Championships.
Since then, fellow West Australian Kori has turned professional, opening the door for Martino.
“I’m feeling pretty confident about winning the State title, which would mean I go to Nationals in June,” he said.
“If I win there, that puts me in good stead to be on the Australian team for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“Then the long-term goal is the Olympics.”
A qualified electrician, Martino splits his time between Canberra, where he trains with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), and his home gym Gloveworkx in Myaree.
Martino said he had a special bond with Gloveworkx coaches Pep Andrikos and Dom Urbano.
“I’m really close with Dom and Pep, they are like two dads to me,” he said.
“A good coach really knows their fighter and how to get the most out of them, and Pep and Dom know how to do that with me.”