Tape strip by tape strip. Lace-by-lace. Over and over until two padded battering rams are attached to his hands.
Hank Johnsonis the one who watches over this process, unfurling the tape and placing the laces in one-by-one. On the other side of this ritual is Anthony Sims Jr., a 17-year old boxers who shivers a bit in anticipation as the gloves get closer and closer to ready.
This process take about three-to-four minutes inside the Better Bodies gym in Zionsville, a routine that can take place six times a week per Johnson's workout program for Sims.
One part of this routine, however, isn't scripted. It takes place at specific moments whether before a bout itself or a practice like the one taking place on this Tuesday night.
"Funny thing is I kiss it before each match," said Sims of the tattoo on the upper part of his right arm. "Anytime someone says the word father or Anthony I kiss it.
"Its a little thing I have."
The art that he refers to on his pectoral reads "Anthony Sims Sr. 1963-2001." He acquired the tattoo on his 16th birthday in tribute to his late father, who died in a car accident ten years earlier.
"When I look at it, it reminds me what I'm fighting for," said Sims-and that's especially true at this time of his life.
Starting on Monday Sims will be in Colorado Springs in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London. The chance is one that Sims has been looking towards since he began fighting at the age of six, following the death of his father.
"His father never wanted him to box," admitted Anthony's mother Tohana Sims-Capler, but once junior began to box he developed the same goal as senior.
He was an alternate on the 1980 United States Olympic Boxing team, one that never went to the Moscow games due to the boycott on the USSR instituted by President Jimmy Carter.
At the time of the qualifications for the London games in August of 2011, Anthony was too young to tryout. But when the fighter at his 178 pound weight class lost in the world championships, tryouts reopened for the spot.
Since Sims was the 2011 Junior Olympic National Champion at that weight class, he was given the opportunity to compete for the spot this week.
"I owe this Olympic qualification to my father. All the Olympics to my father because he's probably the reason I push myself everyday," said Sims. "I feel like its something I not only owe to myself but to my father."
While he was gone, however, it was boxing that stepped in to help teach him the necessary skills for the sport and life. Sims-Capler was the one help get Sims into the sport soon after his father's death after he first tried Karate.
"I started off in Karate, but I used to get disqualified so I started with boxing," said Sims, and it was then he met with Johnson.
With his training, Sims began to rack up a laundry list of trophies an belts that have culminated with the chance to make the Olympic team. At the same time, he was using boxing and those around him as father figures during his developmental years.
"By placing him in boxing, it kinda put him in a situation that he could get into the mindset that his father had when he trained and understand the challenges of being a young man in boxing," said Sims-Capler. "The struggles, the determination and dedication to being a great boxer.
"So it gave him that opportunity to share the experiences and trials that only his father could tell him about. But with his father being gone, now he could experience it for himself and know."
Johnson credits Sims-Capler for her efforts in keeping her son on the right path following her husband's death.
"That's what makes his mother so special because she was able to bring people into his life to be a father figure and also teach Anthony the right things," said Johnson. "When his father had passed she still picked up the lead, took the lead and started putting him in an environment where he could develop into a great young man."
Now he'll get the chance to live out his dream for another, but as he remembers his father he'll also think of those who helped to take his place in the road to the Olympic trials.
"It built my character, not only as a fighter but as a person out of the ring," said Sims. They taught me that there are components you need to have as a young man and boxing taught all about self control, discipline, honor,integrity, all those things."
Expect him to have all those-and a kiss on his right pectoral-when the lights turn on.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times