By Tiffany L. Rehbein
"It is some of how you box, but it's more how you win and how you come across to people."
Frank LaTray, a certified national-level coach, said those words about Marty Engelhardt, an amateur boxer from Havre who, last April, was awarded the Outstanding Young Montana Boxer of the Year.
"It's his spirit, I think, it was just team sportsmanship," his mother Mary said about Marty winning the award.
"He wasn't a natural boxer," Mary said. "It was something he worked at to attain his goal."
The award, the highest given for an amateur boxer, was voted on by coaches and officials and best exemplifies the best fighter in the state, both in and out of the ring.
"It was something else," Englehardt, a soft-spoken 21-year-old, said. "It was something I really worked hard for."
Marty began training himself, getting up at 4 a.m. and running to Kremlin.
"It's very rigorous training," Englehardt said. "It's a lot of cardiovascular, running and cross training."
And it's also the plyometrics, an exercise designed to give the muscles explosive energy when called upon.
It is so intense, it can only be used once or twice per week, and combines jumping from flat spots, from high boxes, over pile-ons, stretching, and acceleration techniques.
"Marty is one of the only boxers I've used it with, because I've got that much confidence in him," LaTray said.
Last spring, Englehardt won the Regional Open Tournament in Hamilton.
He then went on to win at the Montana Invitational at Great Falls and was given the Outstanding Fighter Award.
He won the state Golden Gloves Tournament and advanced to the Rocky Mountain Golden Gloves Tournament that was held at St. George, Utah.
He won all bouts by decision, except the fight in Utah, which was a knockout in the third round.
The No. 1 fighters from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah from each weight class qualified for the tournament.
Englehardt knocked out the top fighter from Utah in the 147-pound class.
His boxing career began in the seventh grade when he was the "water boy" at ringside for his two younger brothers who boxed.
"The coach said, 'Here, put on these gloves.' So, I lost every fight that first year, but I won every fight after that for the next two years," Englehardt said. "After that I guess I got hooked."
"He was still pretty green when I started working with him," LaTray said. "But in training, you couldn't ask for a better student than Marty. The harder you push him, the harder he wants to go."
One of LaTray's most memorable coaching moments came when Englehardt stepped into the ring with Mike Jackson, an old teammate.
"Marty was a little scared of him, he was a little scared of what he stood for," LaTray said. "Marty asked me if he had a chance against him, and he proved it later in the ring. I refereed the fight, and I had coached both kids."
The Montana state Olympic qualifying trials will be held in Great Falls in January. Englehardt, at this time, plans to attend.
If he qualifies, he would represent this region at the Olympic trials, and a win there would qualify him for a spot on the Olympic team.
"It is definitely in my future," Englehardt said.
"He is quite a gentleman," LaTray said. "He thinks more of other people than about himself. I've got a lot of respect for Marty, and I'd love to see him at the pre-Olympic trials."
Englehardt is also the Montana athlete representative. He attends all meetings and gives the athletes point of view when discussing rules and changes.
He currently lives in Billings.
"They call amateur boxing the toughest nine minutes in amateur athletics," Englehardt said. "And it's true."