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12-year-old JoJo Martinez older, wiser, stronger

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Posted at 1:30 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 16:29:43-04

BILLINGS - Jojo Martinez is a year older, a year wiser and clearly a year stronger.

On this night, she's clad in red shorts and red head gear on the way to another win and a title at the recent Montana Silver Gloves Championships in Billings. Her strategy actually changed mid-match.

"My plan was to stop her but in the second round we decided to move more, move around and work around her," Martinez explained to MTN Sports after winning a decision.

Instead of chasing a knockout, she and her trainer -- a.k.a. her dad, Austin Schnizler -- decided on using the bout to sharpen her form and technique.

When we met the duo a year ago, Martinez was barely a year into her young boxing career and Schnizler was a quick study on training her.

"My job as a father is to make sure she stays humble, stay on a clean, clear path," Schnizler told MTN Sports at the time. "Understand that your no better than the next person, no matter what opportunities you've been presented in life."

And Martinez has certainly earned opportunities. Now entering the seventh grade, she has won a title belt in Atlanta, a national championship in Kansas City and recently earned a silver medal at the USA Boxing Junior Olympics in Texas.

Details appear to be the difference. It's no secret the majority of high school and college athletes don't even enjoy watching game film. Yet, at 12 years old, Martinez said no matter the outcome, she loves it.

"Every fight we pick off something and I always learn from every single fight," she said. "I love watching film because every time I'm like, oh, I could've thrown that punch. It's kind of fun to watch, honestly."

She says it's also fun representing a clothing line for The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, whose group sought her out on Instagram.

"He sent stuff over. We were unable to actually meet up due to the pandemic and stuff. But he's definitely sent stuff over and I got some recently. It's pretty cool," she said.

Martinez said her perspective on the outcome of a fight is the same now as a year ago.

"I don't really lose. I learn or I win," she said. "Sometimes I take it really hard, but I'm like dude, you'll do better next time. Train harder."

She clearly is, and not just inside the ring. Like any promising fighter, Martinez cross trains lifting weights and running trails.

And, most notably, she hasn't wavered from her two main goals: devouring steak after a win, and someday, turning trophies into Olympic medals.