|Rather fight than switch|
|Improved dedication puts boxers in Golden Gloves|
|Published Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:13 am|
Alvin Simpson sees potential in Charlotte’s amateur boxers.
|PHOTO/PAUL WILLIAMS III|
|West Charlotte High graduate Frederick Lucas (right) lands a punch against Marcus Begley of Black Mountain in the 141-pound novice championship at the N.C. Golden Gloves boxing tournament last week. Charlotte boxers won nine of 13 championships contested.|
Nine of them won N.C. Golden Gloves championships last week at Sugaw Creek Recreation Center, but more important, they’re the most polished group of Charlotte boxers in recent years.
“This year we took it a lot (more) serious,” said Simpson, the longtime Charlotte Boxing Academy coach. “I even observed as far as where the boxers were as far as last year and talked to them about this one coming up, so we just working out a lot harder, more consistent.”
It’s paid off in competition and berths at next month’s regionals in Knoxville, Tenn.
The best of the group is Lavonte Early, who earned his fourth straight N.C. title with a dominant decision against Andreas Bostic in the 152-pound novice division.
“A legacy, that’s what I’m trying to leave,” he said. “I’m not only brutal in the boxing ring and a great champion, but I’m also a people-loving man and I touch hearts.”
Early, who trains at Charlotte Boxing Academy, touched Bostic from the start, landing flurries of combinations throughout the three-round bout, with a vicious left hook to the body that took the steam out of Bostic.
“I’ve been working on everything a lot and it really paid off,” Early, 19, said. “This is what I do it for.”
Early isn’t the only promising boxer at 152 pounds. James Reed, 23, threw the tournament’s best punch, a devastating right hand that knocked out Anthony Sonnier of Cary. Reed, a first-time Golden Gloves competitor, unloaded a third-round barrage that ended with a right hand that sent Sonnier falling through the ropes face-first.
“I hit him with the left hook first, then came back with the right,” said Reed, who is training to make the leap to the professional ranks. “He’s a difficult fighter, so I had to figure out a way to get in there. Every time we get in there, we try to win. That’s our focus and we just made it happen.”
That’s the kind of attitude Simpson has been pushing in training. The crop of boxers working in Charlotte are applying mental and physical preparation to commitment to their sport.
“The boxers (are) being a lot more dedicated,” Simpson said. “Last year, they were in and out because of work, school, stuff like that. They didn’t grasp it until the last minute what needed to be done. This year, we started out a lot earlier to really get the job done.”
Frederick Lucas, 18, who last month earned his diploma from West Charlotte High, graduated to 141-pound champ with a decision against Marcus Begley of Black Mountain.
“All I could think about was winning, and that’s what I did,” Lucas said. “From the opening bell I was told to always be first.”
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