avatarKyle Wells


The author recounts a childhood experience of training his younger brother, Freddie, in boxing during the summer and arranging a sparring match between Freddie and his friend, Chris.


In the summer of the author's freshman year, he was grounded and forbidden to leave the backyard due to poor grades. He turned his attention to training his younger brother, Freddie, in boxing. After two days of training, the author's friend, Chris, showed up, and the author suggested a sparring match between Freddie and Chris. Despite initial reluctance, the match took place, and Freddie managed to knock Chris down twice before Chris retaliated with a haymaker, causing Freddie to cry. The author reflects on the incident and shares that Freddie grew up to become a Genetic Epidemiologist.


  • The author believes that his boxing training helped Freddie become a successful Genetic Epidemiologist.
  • The author admits that he was proud of Freddie's performance in the sparring match, even though it ended with Freddie crying.
  • The author acknowledges that his actions may have been considered awful by some, as he humiliated his friend and caused his brother to cry.
  • The author expresses his pride in Freddie's accomplishments and shares his educational background.
  • The author shares his opinion that Freddie is special and that no one is prouder of him than the author himself.

The Punch That Made Freddie.

As Far As You Know..

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

My little brother, Freddie, is 6 years my junior. Back in the 80s when I was approaching 16, Freddie was 10.

See where I did the math there?

That summer after my freshman year was a real downer for me. As a result of my horrific grades, I was grounded and forbidden to leave our backyard while attending summer school classes.

All I cared about at that time was the pugilistic arts. Pugilism, commonly known as boxing, was my passion. After school during my freshman year, I and some buddies were off to Toledo’s South Side boxing club most days of the week.

Boxing was not a school-related sport, so I didn’t have to contend with a coach forbidding me to participate in the sport due to grades. I did have to contend with my mother though.

I was able to avoid forbiddance to attend training by swiping my report cards from the mailbox — before my mom — and changing F grades to Bs. I was a master forger of my mom’s signature when progress reports would come in the mid-term and require her signature.

These bad boy antics enabled me to prolong my boxing career until the letter came spring semester recommending I attend summer school. My mom made it to the mailbox before me on that occasion.


No boxing, and no leaving the yard until after summer school was through. It was basically me and Freddie in the backyard.

It was mental torture.

I was losing valuable gym time, not sparring, and delaying my Golden Gloves championship ambitions.

What to do, what to do….


Freddie needed to toughen up!

If I couldn’t be Rocky, I sure as hell could be Mickey, his trainer.

What if Freddie grew up to be some cheap 2nd rate loan-shark all because I didn’t train him that summer?!

Luckily for Freddie, I had equipment at home, which included a heavy bag, boxing gloves, and of course my great boxing mind.

Training began immediately.

Freddie was game! I was his big brother, and he knew I wouldn’t steer him wrong. We trained for a whole 2 days before another 💡 went off in my head!

Oh sweet fate!

I was paid a visit by my friend, Chris.

Chris was quite short for a 15-year-old and quite petite. – the perfect opponent for my young pugilistic prodigy, Freddie “Boom-Boom” Balboa.

Poor Chris had the misfortune of showing up while I was teaching Freddie some punch combinations.

“Hey! What say you two spar a bit?” I said as if it were the greatest idea since indoor plumbing.

Both refused out of the gate.

Chris, still a full head taller than Freddie, and easily 20 pounds heavier, not to mention 5 years older, outright refused.

Freddie, with a look of terror on his face meekly shook his head no.

I grabbed the gloves and exclaimed “it’s just sparring. No one will get hurt.” I turned to Freddie placing my hands on his shoulders and began my motivational mastery session.

Looking deep into his eyes, I assured him he had this.

“Use the jab to get in range and then throw the jab/straight right combination. Keep your hands up! Stay in technique and maintain your balance. You got this!”

Freddie’s expression began to change. His eyes began to show a fire, and his teeth began to grit.

He was ready.

Chris on the other hand, was still in protest. I promised him I was just trying to toughen Freddie up and he wasn’t going to hurt my little brother.

Somehow, I convinced Chris to strap on the gloves. The fight was on!

I served as the bell and said, “Ding!”

Freddie came out on fire. Jab-jab-right hand to the chin! Chris went down immediately. He was shocked, but immediately returned to a standing position.

I was jumping and cheering like an idiot so proud of my little brother. I was showing little regard for my 15-year-old friend being stunned by a 10-year-old.

The fight resumed and same result. Freddie threw a combination, Chris went down, and I celebrated.

Chris stood again, Freddie approached, and ran into a haymaker from Chris. Freddie stumbled backward and began to weep. I stopped the action and ran to my little brother’s aid — still excited — and practically weeping with pride.


Chris ripped off his gloves, extremely pissed off, waves me off like the turd I was, and left for home. Freddie, still crying due to being punched by a 15-year-old, ran into the house.

There I stood, alone, in all my glory after humiliating my friend, and ultimately getting my little brother punched to tears.

It was a banner day.

You may think me awful but Freddie didn’t become a cheap 2nd rate loan shark.

He’s a Genetic Epidemiologist all because of me!

Check this out:

Post-doctoral Fellowship Harvard School of Public Health 2008

Post-doctoral Fellowship Channing Laboratory at Brigham Women’s Hospital 2008

Ph.D. Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology Case Western Reserve University 2009

M.P.H. Genetic Epidemiology Case Western Reserve University 2004

B.S. Nutritional Sciences Cornell University 1997.

All because of a punch in the face.

He still hasn’t thanked me..

This one is a brag on my little brother. No one is prouder of him than me. He’s simply special.

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