Boxing phenom Damian Tinnerello never stops fighting

Whether he’s in or out of the ring, senior Damian Tinnerello always looks to improve.

After finishing as the runner-up in his weight class at 2020 Nationals, senior Damian Tinnerello has a bright future ahead of him.

  True champions are those who are never satisfied. If there’s room to improve, they’re eager to do whatever it takes in order to better themselves. Because if you’re content with what you’ve got, can you call yourself a champion?

  Since he was fourteen years old, senior Damian Tinnerello has yearned to become a champion in the sport of boxing. His road to greatness has had its ebbs and flows—and the finish line is still out of sight—but whenever he encounters hardship, Tinnerello responds the only way he knows how: with hard work and consistency.

  It all started innocently enough at age thirteen, when he was searching for a new hobby. For four months, Tinnerello went to the boxing gym only once per week, until he made a revelation that would change his life: that he “wanted to fight.” Not just on the side, but on prime time, under the lights.

  However, every hero needs an origin story. 

  For him, the stage was set in New Mexico, at a packed sparring match. Fourteen-year old Tinnerello was paired up with an eighteen-year-old veteran, and their experience difference was evident. Although Tinnerello was defeated in the first round, the crushing loss motivated him to truly dedicate himself to boxing.

  Ever since he took it up seriously, Tinnerello has “lived and breathed” boxing. He’s always hard at work in the gym, training with his father Damian Sr. here in New Jersey. Tinnerello has a boxing team in addition, but the father-son duo are always working out and taking every opportunity to improve.

  “It’s really just me and my dad trying to travel a lot. We’re trying to get as much experience as we can,” Tinnerello said.

  As a result of his experience and tireless work ethic, Tinnerello is looking more and more like his favorite professional boxer, Canelo Álvarez, whom he watches “all day, every day.”

  Although Tinnerello has only been boxing for a few years, he’s made memories that will last a career. Out of everything, however, fighting at the USA Boxing National Championships this year certainly tops his list.

  “When I first started, I never thought I’d be at that level. I trained really, really hard,” he said.

  Nationals were originally scheduled to take place in December 2020 in Shreveport, Louisiana, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed it until March 25th to April 3rd of this year. Tinnerello and his father flew down by way of Atlanta.

  After fighting a lot of tough matches throughout the competition, he reached the finals for his weight class, where he unfortunately fell to his opponent, Santiago Franco of Oregon. However, he still won a silver medal for his efforts, and the overall experience has been invaluable to his development as a boxer.

  “I’m already working on my mistakes,” he said.

  Having a major annual competition postponed for such a long period of time is a nerve-wracking feeling. However, Tinnerello has managed to thrive amidst the circumstances. In a time of uncertainty, he resolved to stay consistent.

  “Me and my dad were just constantly on our grind, 24/7. So it [COVID-19] hasn’t really affected me in any way. If anything, I got better,” he said.

  But all the while, Tinnerello knows to take breaks and switch up his routine. When not training, he enjoys reading, and especially painting to Bob Ross videos.

  “He [Ross] just creates something crazy out of nowhere,” Tinnerello said. “He’s very peaceful.”

  For the future, Tinnerello dreams of becoming a professional boxer. With his talent and success, it’s easy to see that dream becoming a reality. In the meantime, he plans on enlisting in the Coast Guard.

  In a life that has been marked by boxing, Tinnerello never loses sight of why he was drawn to the sport.

  “It’s really a different sport, because you can meet all types of people,” he said.” “I fell in love with the fact that you can fight, and still be friends after you fight each other.”