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Business

Entrepreneur Calvin Brock punches above his weight with business ideas
Retired boxer pursues career dreams
 
Published Friday, January 18, 2019 12:39 pm
by Jason Vaughn

PHOTO | UNC CHARLOTTE
Charlotte native and former heavyweight boxing contender Calvin Brock is also an entrepreneur.

Boxing and business are dual passions that fuel Calvin Brock’s life.


The entrepreneur-pugilist knew from an early age that one day, he would compete for a world championship, and he would come to appreciate the lessons learned along the way, especially from UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business.


Brock’s dream began one Christmas morning. A typical 8-year-old, he excitedly opened a gift from his uncle. As he ripped away the wrapping paper, Brock discovered two pairs of boxing gloves.


“I couldn’t figure out why he gave me two pairs, because my sister was my only sibling, and back then, girls didn’t train to box,” said Brock, a 1999 UNCC graduate. “But with the gloves, I started boxing with kids in the neighborhood, and I loved it. I begged and begged my parents to let me start training, and they finally relented when I was 10. But the gym's trainer said to come back when I was 12.”


And return he did. He began with the North Charlotte Boxing Club (now the Charlotte Boxing Academy) and also trained with the Police Athletic League. The young fighter struggled, losing his first four contests, and just when he thought he would have to leave Charlotte to train, his father stepped in.


The senior Brock ordered instructional boxing videotapes and became his son’s trainer. After enduring two more losses, Brock won his seventh boxing match, and his aspirations started to materialize.


“I started going on winning streaks, winning second place in the National Junior Olympics at age 15, which ranked me the No. 2 amateur boxer in the country,” said Brock, who continued to compile titles statewide and nationally, including the Silver Gloves. He would win the national Golden Gloves heavyweight championship in 1998. As a senior at West Charlotte High School, Brock vied for a spot on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team; it would take eight years, but he won a spot on the 2000 squad and competed in Sydney, Australia.


Although dedicated to boxing, Brock knew that his chosen sport was part of the entertainment business, and success, in part, hinged on branding and promotion. A scholarship to Northern Michigan University, home of the Olympic Training Center for Boxing, evaporated due to funding cuts. So, the budding entrepreneur did what many others have to do when faced with adversity – be prepared to change course. Brock enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College, and later transferred to UNCC, where he majored in finance.


“I owe a great deal of my success to UNC Charlotte and the Belk College. All along, I knew that to build a boxing career, I would need to learn the finer points of business,” Brock said. “Belk College taught me the marketing, accounting, the economics that I needed. College makes you a well-rounded individual, and in business school, there were lots of team projects that enabled me to learn how to communicate, delegate and negotiate – all key skills needed in the entrepreneurial sport of boxing.”


Following graduation, Brock worked briefly for Bank of America, but he continued to train and compete professionally.


Calvin Brock, the Boxing Banker, became his own franchise and he assembled the team to advance his career, which meant selecting a trainer, promoter, publicist and corner personnel.


“Boxing is the most entrepreneurial sport there is,” Brock said. “I was the living, breathing embodiment of the product, so all my decisions had to be very strategic.”


And all his planning and discipline enabled Brock to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport. The crescendo came in 2006 when he lost to Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight championship bout. Subsequent retinal damage from a 2007 match against

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