WILMINGTON -- The bond BJ Pierce and Ismael Johnson share is evident when they train for their upcoming bouts. The pair started training together almost five years ago when they were in middle school. These days, the 16 year olds are using that bond to push themselves to win in the ring.
"It's good, it's like a friendship beyond a friendship, anybody who has friends couldn't experience what we go through," said Johnson
Last month, Johnson and Pierce won national titles in the 145 and 154 pound weight classes at the National Boxing Championships in Memphis, Tenn. Part of the reason for the success in the ring for the two teens is the way they push each other.
"Sometimes I can see him and sometimes he can see me and we can tell when we are not focused," said Pierce. "Ismael will say you know what you came to do."
The other part of the young fighters' success stems from their work ethic. Johnson and Pierce train for at least two hours, five days per week. When the pair gets closer to their fights, they train everyday.
"After they won the belts, I was very excited for them, but then they came back the next day and we got started again. We all have to work harder since they're champions now," said Lindell Beatty, Johnson and Pierce's trainer.
This weekend, Johnson and Pierce will travel to Marietta, Ga. to fight in the Georgia State Boxing Games with the hopes of bringing home more titles.