Published: 00:01, 02 December 2018
It takes great determination to get up at 5am on a cold and frosty winter morning to do a daily 5km run before school.
But for 17-year-old Karol Itauma this is just one example of his total commitment to becoming a boxing champion.
The Chatham secondary school pupil is still celebrating his gold medal from the Youth Olympics in Argentina and the light-heavyweight champion is pledging to go all the way and become the world's best boxer.
Karol, a head boy at Greenacre Academy, does not allow his passion for boxing to affect his school studies in PE and business, both of which will stand him in good stead for a successful future.
He has already shown his creative and entrepreneurial skills by bringing out his own fashion line sold via Itauma clothing Items feature a KK logo, a nod to his ring nickname, King Karol.
It includes limited edition printed t-shirts, presented in black boxes, like a high fashion brand.
Many have already been snapped up by his friends.
The teenager, from Chatham, is also a mentor to local youngsters, coaching and talking to them under the Fit and Fed national campaign during school holidays.
His dream is being realised as he celebrated his seventh national title at the recent championships in Doncaster.
This has resulted in Karol getting a call-up for European selection and he received an email informing him he will be representing England in Italy in April for the European championships.
He described his win at the Youth Olympics as "unreal", adding: “I gained priceless experience from the high level of competition, which will only further develop me as a boxer.
“To be only one of 42 boxers to represent Team GB was an absolute honour and to receive a gold medal is my greatest achievement so far.”
Karol, who fights out of St Mary’s Amateur Boxing Club in Chatham, beat Russia’s Rusian Kolesnikov.
His school has fully supported Karol’s entrepreneurial endeavours by providing support from a range of mentors, including a marketing specialist, a PR consultant, a financial adviser, an award-winning business leader and entrepreneur, and a fashion designer.
After school each day, Karol goes off to train at St Marys’ in Street End Road.
The teenager has the full support of his parents, Martna and Charles, as well as that of his two brothers: Samuel, 15, and Enriko, 13, one of whom is also an amateur boxing champ.
Karol said: “I discovered boxing in Year 8 and fell in love with it.
"Greenacre Academy has been incredibly supportive and has been instrumental in ensuring I get the best mentors and the help I need.
“I attend boxing bootcamps and also help out young beginner boxers on Saturday mornings.
“I began my fashion brand because I love my business studies and want to be a successful entrepreneur as well as being a champion boxer.
“My parents have been amazing, but supporting me is very expensive as I have to train, eat a special diet, attend bootcamps and have to have all the right clothing for my training and fights.
“I am so grateful to them and hope that as I continue to win titles it will encourage businesses in the Chatham and Medway areas to sponsor me.
“My goal is to be on Team GB and win an Olympic medal and I’d ensure that any sponsors share in the glory of any of my successes.
“In my opinion, boxing gets kids off the streets and invested in something that could potentially change their lives in the future.
“It teaches discipline, commitment, resilience and improves their manners.”
Head teacher Shelley Bridger described him as "an outstanding role model", adding: “We are justifiably proud of him winning this major achievement but he deserves every piece of this success.
“I have watched Karol grow from a young and shy Year 7 to a confident young man who has the drive and determination to achieve immense success in his future.
“As with all of our students we gave Karol the support he needed to flourish and he has made the most of every opportunity.”
Any local businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities can call 07796 647045.
More by this authorNicola Jordan