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Harper headed for National Golden Gloves

Photo provided Wadena Boxing Club member Kevin Harper will be advancing to the Golden Gloves Nationals as the Upper Midwest's 114-pound champion April 25-30 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Kevin Harper made a decision a few years ago that has taken him a long way, and it will soon propel him even further.

The 16-year-old boxer will be part of a 32-man field that competes for the 114-pound National Golden Gloves title April 25-30 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Harper, who lives north of Bluffton, attends high school in New York Mills and competes with the Wadena Boxing Club, took top honors in the Upper Midwest Regional last Sunday in Walker by decisioning 21-year-old South Dakota fighter Mark Pogorelski. Although his opponent was five years older, Harper had the longer reach.

The victory gives Harper a 3-2 record this year and a 6-2 record since he began fighting three years ago.

Harper was an elementary wrestler for eight years before turning to the ring. He saw some friends sparring one day and he decided to give it a shot. Like most boxers he "likes to knock people down."

Wadena boxing coach Bob Tubandt has been working with Harper on his stance in preparation for the nationals. Lighter weight bouts are won with quickness more than power and a boxer letting himself be caught off balance can quickly find himself in trouble.

"He wants you 'hands up, chin down,'" Harper said.

In addition to training in the ring two nights a week, Harper runs seven days a week.

Harper likes boxing under Tubandt because he shares so much with his fighters.

"He's a good coach," Harper said. "He trains with us. He does more push-ups than some of the boxers."

Tubandt likes Harper because he fits right into his idea of a good fighter.

"He talks with his hands, not with his mouth," Tubandt said.