SAN DIEGO — Usually when you hear the nickname “Magic,” you think of basketball, not boxing. Jonny Mansour, however, started using his sleight of hand at 8-years-old.
“That’s when the magic started happening. It was a magic show from there,” said Mansour.
The 22-year-old’s teammate coined the title, because of Mansour’s supernatural speed.
“I’d move around her and she’d say I’m like deceptive, I’m disappearing and that’s when she gave me the nickname ‘Magic,’” said Mansour.
In 2022, the Santee native ranked number one in the nation.
His fighting weight of 132 pound is not an Olympic weight class. Moving up to 139 this year, he was struggling at first. Then, he rekindled the magic.
“People were telling me I wasn’t strong enough for this weight class. I shocked them, I shocked a lot of people and this game is all about surprises,” said Mansour.
His greatest trick — winning the 100th anniversary of the Golden Gloves National Championship in dominate fashion. While fighting five opponents in five days, Mansour knocked two of them out.
“Five days straight was no joke. My two boxing coaches prepared me and I was ready for a sixth day to be honest with you,” said Mansour.
Winning the title meant a lot to the fighter, following in the footsteps of his idol.
“Greats like Muhammad Ali won this tournament in 1959. Muhammad Ali is one of my favorite boxers,” said Mansour.
Just like Ali, Mansour qualified for the Olympic trials. Preparing for the 2024 Paris games, seeing the competition as a golden opportunity.
“At the end of the day it’s all worth it man. When they raise my hand inside that ring, when I’m bringing home belts to my family, seeing everybody’s putting a smile on their faces — it puts a smile on my face. Things like this is why I’m still here,” said Mansour.