St. CLOUD -- Local boxers Joe James and Kim Putzier returned Sunday after a learning experience and confidence boost at the USA Boxing National Championship in Spokane, Washington.

James and Putzier both lost in the tournament, but assistant head coach of St. Cloud Golden Gloves Jon LaPlant says it was a valuable experience for both boxers.

"We brought two pretty new boxers out there," LaPlant says. "It went well [but] we were of course expecting to do better."

LaPlant says James faced a seasoned boxer who had been to the national tournament multiple times before. James held his own by lasting all three rounds but lost the decision.

"It was a big time learning experience because Joe only has 20 fights," LaPlant says. "[He realized] that the talent at the national level is incredible."

LaPlant says Kim Putzier, who had only 10 fights under her belt, also learned a lot and built confidence at the competition.

"Kim was kind of nervous, but she made it all four rounds [with a well-known fighter]," LaPlant says.

"She did extremely well and now she knows that she can hang with some of the best [boxers] in the nation."

LaPlant says Putzier also impressed Clarissa Shields, the first woman ever to win a gold medal in boxing.

Clarissa Shields with Kim Putzier. Photo by Cindy Schumacher.