Craig Elks Club boxer Tyler Pogline didn't turn any heads last year with his 0-1 finish at the Colorado Golden Gloves Tournament in Denver.
But a year makes a big difference.
19-year-old Pogline finished with a 3-0 record to claim the Class B (novice) title at 147 pounds and was named the Most Outstanding Boxer in his weight class. The tournament was held March 30 through April 1.
"It feels great winning it," said Pogline who has been boxing for the past two years. "Its been my number one goal since I stepped foot in the gym and I felt getting Most Outstanding Boxer was just like icing on the cake."
Though he said he put a lot of time and energy into learning his sport, some of Pogline's talent could be inherited. His cousin, James Pogline won the title for the Craig Elks Club in 1989. And no one has won it since.
"It's a pretty big deal for Tyler to win," said longtime coach Ted Moralez. "We have had other champs, but not for a long time."
Pogline started the tournament by wining a decision over Michael Duran of Thornton, Colo.
"I felt very relaxed," said the six-foot tall Pogline. "I was there to win. It was a little funny because he was a favorite and I got a lot of boo's from the crowd, but I got the job done fairly easily."
"He's first match was against a guy that was shorter than him," said coach Moralez. "Tyler used that to his advantage and he wouldn't let him get in on him. Tyler was using his jab really well and he was throwing those uppercuts and hooks. He won that pretty easyily."
In the semifinal match, Pogline won a decision over Rudy Holguin from Denver.
"I knew it would be a tough fight, but it just seemed like I couldn't miss," said Pogline. "I was landing everything giving him two eight counts."
Moralez said Pogline had already come up against Holguin and knew how to fight him.
"He set him up with his right hand," Moralez said. "He threw a lot of good hooks."
In the title bout, Pogline let his dedication overcome his tiredness and sore hands and took the championship trophy from Dumaro DeLa Trinidad from Greeley, Colo., on points in a bout that Polinge dominated from start to finish.
"Hard work pays off," he said.
Moralez said there was no question who the winner was in the title bout.
"[Pogline] dominated the championship fight," he said. "He was the clear-cut winner in all three fights.
"We were all pleased when he was voted Most Outstanding Boxer. He has been working hard and he really deserved that and that was a bonus for him."
Pogline doesn't feel he has reached the top. He said this is just the beginning of what he hopes will be a long boxing career that could continue in the Army if he chooses.
"Only time will tell," he said.
Fighting in the 85-pound weight class, Ryan Collins, 14, was the only other boxer from Craig to take part in the tournament.
Fighting in his fifth fight of his life, Collins ran into a tough boxer from Pueblo, Colo. Moralez said Collins held his own, but lost on points to the more experience boxer.
"The kid that Ryan fought had over 50 fights," said Moralez. "I thought about pulling Ryan out, but Ryan is a game boxer and we got him in there and hee went all three rounds he got a little bloody nose out of it. He was really pleased with himself for being able to go that long with the kid."
Collins believes the fight was great experience for him.
"This kid had five pounds on me," said Collins. "It was a really good fight. It was a tough fight for me, but it will help me down the line."