|N.C. Golden Gloves champ's redemption|
|Ryan Howell rebounded from 2012 loss to earn title|
|Published Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:03 am|
Ryan Howell’s lowest point as a boxer turned into his greatest motivation.
|Ryan Howell (right) pressures Paul Lynch in the 178-pound final of the N.C. Golden Gloves boxing championship March 9 at Sugaw Creek Recreation Center. Howell, 29, found a measure of redemption from the previous year when he lost in the final and collapsed afterward.|
Howell earned his first N.C. Golden Gloves boxing title on March 8 with a convincing decision against Paul Lynch of Raleigh, making him one of three Charlotte boxers to advance to the Southern Regional in Knoxville, Tenn., April 11-13. A year earlier, Howell was wheeled out on a stretcher after losing in the final.
“That’s my ultimate goal, all year long,” Howell, 29, said. “And I got it.”
Howell, who trains at Dyme Boxing Club, got it right in the final by turning aggressor against Lynch, chasing him across the ring and throwing combinations that moved the taller boxer backward. By the third round, Howell’s pace and combinations took a toll on Lynch, who had a point deducted for holding.
“He was tall, long and a southpaw and the way you beat a southpaw is high guard, counter and walk him down,” Howell said. “I tried to outbox him in the first round and I got a couple of shots in, but I was expending too much energy and I knew he wouldn’t work harder than me.”
Howell credited his comeback to his supporters – who were in abundance at the final and cheered him on a yearlong comeback.
“They said I was going to be out for a year,” Howell said. “I was back in the gym in a month. That’s how determined I was to get back. My teammates rooted me on, my co-workers, everybody. I had a great support system.”
In addition to Howell, Dyme will have plenty of representation in Knoxville. Teammates Vardges Vardangan outpointed Michael White of Charlotte Boxing Academy in the 165-pound class and Duane Patterson advanced via walkover at 132.
But Howell, a former defensive back at Mars Hill, was clearly an inspirational favorite. An ill-prepared pre-fight meal at a local restaurant made him sick before last year’s final. Instead of backing out of the match, he went on and collapsed from dehydration. That memory drove him to return.
“It means a lot because last year I was a step away from the regionals and I had a severe case of dehydration in the ring and was rushed to the hospital,” he said. “The guy who won that (bout) actually won the regionals, so I was kind of salty about that.”
Howell has his chance to do the same.
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