Teen Boxer Knocks Out ADHD

Amidst the cheers of supporters, Matteo Morra earns his first win in Brampton, Ontario at the age of 14.

Focused Fighter

In a small boxing gym in Mississauga, a 14-year-old boy is putting his body and mind to work. Matteo Morra has dreams of boxing on the biggest stages in the world. He’s currently 3-0 as an amateur fighter but is still far from his goals. Morra grinds every day to go pro and compete in the Olympics.

At just 12 years old, Matteo put on boxing gloves for the first time. Like many pro boxers, he started in his garage with his dad, Johnny Morra. Matteo weighed 155 pounds (70.3 kilograms) just before he began his boxing journey. Two years later, he’s a lean 113 pounds (51.2 kilograms).

His boxing focus has always been his superpower. Morra lives with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He has a hard time focusing on things he doesn’t find much interest in. Yet, he’s naturally able to hyperfocus on the things he’s into. This aids the 14-year-old in being undefeated in the ring after only two years of boxing.

ADHD is present across Canada. According to the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada (CADDAC), it affects 1.8 million people in the country; approximately five percent of them are children.

Colleen Collins, a registered psychotherapist, specializes in helping athletes navigate their way through physical and mental challenges. She says sports are known to be a good tool to improve symptoms, such as staying focused, reducing impulsiveness, and helping with confidence and self-esteem.

Right now, the young boxer is spending much of his time and focus on training with Olympic boxing coach, Rafael Delgado. As for the 30-year veteran coach, he has nothing but great things to say about his young star.

Rising Up

Like many kids, Matteo Morra was unsure of what his calling was a couple of years ago. He especially had a hard time finding it after being diagnosed with ADHD. That all changed one fateful day when Matteo’s dad, Johnny Morra, convinced him to take up boxing. They trained in their garage every day for hours on end.

A passion for boxing led to Matteo elevating his craft, training under Olympic boxing coach, Rafael Delgado. A "machine” is what his coach calls him. Morra refuses to leave the gym even when it’s closed.

As he started to spar, new skills, faster reflexes, and better punches made Morra an up-and-coming threat in the world of boxing. With new confidence, Morra did not look back. He used every sparring match to reach his goal. And then, amidst the cheers of supporters, came Morra's first win. Standing in the ring, bathed in sweat, he realizes that nothing is more special than this moment.

Setting sights on his fourth win, Matteo observes and reflects on his journey. Coming from a lack of self-motivation, he now walks confidently into the ring. Morra’s journey from on the mat to hands in the air is the ultimate knockout and is a testament to his heart and determination.

ADHD Symptom Awareness

Meet the Team

Adam El-Zein

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Focused Fighter

Gianluca Berardis

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Focused Fighter

Justin Shin

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Rising Up

Martin Oldhues

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Rising Up

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