Mark Antonio Daniels, Jr., has competed in amateur boxing competitions, including the Golden Gloves, since he was eleven years old. An enrolled member of the Forest County Potawatomi, he lives in Crandon outside of the Forest County Potawatomi Reservation. He has trained under noted boxing instructors Harry “The Hammer” Funmaker, Smoking Joe, James “Sun Sun” Wayka (Menominee), and Eugene Webster (Menominee). Mark Jr.’s dream is to become a professional boxer. He now trains with the Forest County Potawatomi Boxing Club (FCP) under the guidance of his father, coach Mark Daniels, Sr.
“We’ve been in this since we were kids so we’re family here,” says Mark Jr.
American Indians have a long history of boxing in Wisconsin, particularly at the amateur level. Various tribal members have won championships at regional, state, national, and military levels. Native boxing champions are highly respected in their communities. They wear their winner’s jackets or shoulder patches with a great sense of pride.
Boxing allows young people an opportunity to participate in a sport outside of school. Many school-related programs limit the number of participats so boxing is often the only athletic program available. Mark Daniels, Sr., started the FCP in an old tribal hall. As the club grew, they relocated to a larger training area. They, like other native boxing clubs, compete against native and non-native clubs across Wisconsin.
“My goal is to show all of my people what we’re capable of,” says Mark Jr. “I box for my people, not only Potawatomis, all Natives. I fight for them, I fight for my kids, I fight for my dream, I fight for a reason to get up every day.”
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