By Anna Petersen
STURGIS, Mich. — While in the thick of projects and studies for the spring semester
like many other Trine University students, junior Quinn O’Brien found the time to
excel at another passion.
O’Brien, a civil engineering major from Indianapolis, won the novice 178-pound division
for Golden Gloves boxing in the state of Michigan.
He has had an interest in boxing since he was young, though the Conor McGregor vs
Floyd Mayweather fight in 2017 inspired him to become more directly involved with
“Watching the risks that boxers took and the training they went through to be able
to perform in front of the fans sparked my interest,” he said. “Floyd Mayweather showed
the level of fitness required for boxing and technique were too great for Conor to
He said boxing also provides a great means of self-defense.
In November 2018, he began training alongside one of his fraternity brothers, Mario
Soto-Luna, a junior civil engineering major from LaGrange, Indiana. O’Brien initially
began training at the Lee Brothers MMA gym in Fort Wayne to learn basic techniques
and proper form. As time elapsed, he wanted to improve his technique, and began thinking
After visiting another gym, O’Brien met a trainer who operates the Warrior’s Quest
boxing club. The club, where O’Brien currently trains, is located within the Doyle
Community Center in Sturgis, Michigan.
“There are people from 5 and up who come every Tuesday through Friday to train both
for fitness and competition,” he said.
O’Brien trains year-round and keeps a specific schedule in order to make sure he can
balance both his coursework and training. He trains from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday through
Friday, and 12:30-2 p.m. Sundays.
“I make sure to stay organized, and begin my homework as soon as I get home from the
gym,” he said. “Training is very tough, so taking a week off every once in a while
to reset your mind is a good idea.”
The Golden Gloves tournament, which runs from mid-March through mid-April, allows
amateur boxers to compete against one another to determine the best amateur boxer
is in the state of Michigan.
O’Brien plans to compete in the open division of amateur boxing, which has more experienced
fighters. He also plans to box in the Michigan Golden Gloves again next spring, and
hopes to move on to the national Golden Gloves tournament.
“Long-term, I would like to find a job in engineering and train at the same time,”
he said. “I would love to fight in a professional fight and see what opportunities
open up for me.”