Airman realizes boxing dreams

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airmen Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, and Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, face off during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Thirty service members competed at the invitational, which was open to all amateur boxers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airmen Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, and Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, face off during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Thirty service members competed at the invitational, which was open to all amateur boxers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, stands in line before his bout against Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith participated in his first boxing match at the event and earned his first victory over Shields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, stands in line before his bout against Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith participated in his first boxing match at the event and earned his first victory over Shields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, knocks Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, to the ground during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith defeated Shields by unanimous decision, earning his first career boxing victory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, knocks Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, to the ground during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith defeated Shields by unanimous decision, earning his first career boxing victory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, catches his breath after the first round of his match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith trained for two and a half years before entering the ring at an official event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, catches his breath after the first round of his match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith trained for two and a half years before entering the ring at an official event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, recoils after a punch from Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith developed an interest in boxing after he joined the Air Force, and has been consistently training for the last two and a half years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, recoils after a punch from Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, during a match at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith developed an interest in boxing after he joined the Air Force, and has been consistently training for the last two and a half years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, catches his breath after defeating Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith wants to join the Air Force boxing team and eventually become a professional boxer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany – Senior Airman Ronreco Smith, 52nd Communications Squadron, catches his breath after defeating Senior Airman Kevin Shields, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23. Smith wants to join the Air Force boxing team and eventually become a professional boxer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/Released)

MIESAU, Germany -- Senior Airman Ronreco Smith focused as he put one glove in front of the other, punching with speed and accuracy, again and again.

"Just keep moving," he thought to himself as time dragged on. Smith knew that practice makes perfect, and he relied on that state of mind.

This wasn't just another day in the gym for Smith, where he can be found training on a punching bag and doing speed work every day of the week. This was an actual boxing match, and he was determined to win.

Smith was one of thirty U.S. service members who tested their strength and endurance at the U.S. Army's Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational here June 23.

"I was really antsy to see where I'm at in my training," said Smith, who is a client systems journeyman for the 52nd Communications Squadron. "I was just ready to start. I knew that the sooner I got into the ring, I'd be less nervous."

Smith entered the ring against Senior Airman Kevin Shields from the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, and took a decisive 5-0 victory.

"The biggest thing that went through my head when I was in the ring was don't get hit," said Smith with a grin.

The fight seemed equally matched until Smith dealt a blow that knocked his opponent to the ground late in the first round. The crowd cheered as the two exchanged punches through three rounds of grueling competition.

"It was great to see him get some solid hits on his first fight," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Chesnek, who attended the event to support Smith.

Smith took the "comm nerd" stereotype and pummeled it when he stepped into the ring, Chesnek said.

Smith developed an interest in boxing after he joined the Air Force, and has been consistently training for the last two and a half years.

"I started training when I was stationed in Korea," he said. "I want to be part of the Air Force boxing team; that has been my motivation."

Smith follows a strict fitness regimen, which gets him up at 3:30 a.m. to train on a daily basis.

"I do a lot of speed work and a lot of footwork when I train," he said. "Fighting at the weight I fight at is mostly about speed, not really knocking the other out."

The hours of jumping rope, shadow boxing and running has improved not only his physical performance but also his energy around the workplace.

"Before I started boxing, I would get tired a lot easier," he said. "I have a lot more energy throughout the day and I'm always ready to train."

Smith's motivation has helped his work ethic as well, said Tech. Sgt. Robert McVickers, who is Smith's supervisor.

"He isn't one of those people that just sits around and waits for work," McVickers said.

Smith's first match has welcomed him into the world of competitive boxing, and he plans to try out for the Air Force team in November.

"You can't just wake up and say 'I want to box,' and then not give it your all," Smith said. "It takes dedication and persistence to reach your goals."