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When Wilson’s Kelvin King made his debut as a professional in November of 2017, he tipped the scales at 154 pounds, sufficient enough to be classified as a super welterweight.
That’s gradually going to change for the undefeated 2014 graduate of Beddingfield High.
King, who is 5-0-1 as a professional, will enter his May 9 fight at the Durham Armory at 144, three pounds under the welterweight limit.
Gardner Payne, King’s manager and owner of Charlotte-based Payne Boxing, recently indicated in an email that the plan was ultimately to move King to 140 pounds, which would make him a prospect in the junior welterweight division.
Although no opponent has been identified for the 24-year-old King on the May 9 card put on by Christy Martin Promotions, he won his last three fights of 2018 following his four-round draw with Michael White in Durham back on April 26.
King recorded a first-round TKO of David Gomez (0-1) on June 30, got a second-round stoppage versus Nathan Petty (1-37-1) on Aug. 16 and put down Derek Hyatt (3-2-1) via first-round knockout on Oct. 20 in Charlotte — a stoppage that could be classified as quick and efficient.
He caught Hyatt with a sharp left hook just 25 seconds into the fight, and after backing his taller opponent up against the ropes, followed a right hand with a overhand left to topple Hyatt, who got to his feet but was wobbly and in no position to continue.
Entering his last fight on Feb. 23, King’s camp wanted to find an opponent that would push him to the distance after knockouts in four of five prior bouts. They found such a fighter in Andre Baker (10-51-3), who lasted all six rounds before the judges awarded King the victory via unanimous decision.
As he prepares for his next fight, King is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to train alongside the likes of Stacy McKinney, the former trainer for Mike Tyson and Luis “Chiro” Perez.
Incidentally, Skip Crumpler, the veteran Wilson trainer and cutman for major professional fights, likened King to a “young Mike Tyson” prior to the start of his amateur career.
“He is getting great experience and training,” Payne said. “Not only is he getting great training in the ring, but he is learning how world champions eat, train and sleep.”
A TOUGH DEBUT
Hunt’s latest foray into the world of professional boxing — 27-year-old Travoris Lofton — was handed a setback in his pro debut Saturday night by Jacquan “Da King” Townes in Charlotte as part of card put on by Vegas Grand Boxing Promotions.
Trained by Leroy Gray, the proprietor of Gray’s Hardcore Boxing Gym Lofton did accomplish a first during the bout by putting the 31-year-old Townes (7-1) on the canvas for the first time in a career that includes seven straight wins, five by knockout.
However, Lofton, who owns no amateur background, couldn’t sustain the momentum and was knocked out in the fourth and final round of the bout.
North Carolina Boxing Authority representatives came to Gray’s Randolph Street facility and cleared Lofton to enter the ring professionally after observing a training session, Gray said.
As a result of the knockout, Lofton is under a 60-day medical suspension from NCBA until May 15.
Opposing the hometown fighter in his own backyard isn’t the ideal experience.
But that’s what Austin “Babyface Assassin” Bryant did in his last fight back in November, when the 21-year-old Hunt graduate lost his second straight bout, this one to Angel Rivera at the Zembo Shrine Event Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by way of TKO.
Coming off a majority decision loss to Hafiz Montgomery for the vacant World Boxing Foundation North American Regional Title at the final show for Wilson-based Top Catz Boxing in June of 2017 — the company founded by stepfather Tony Meeks — Bryant (4-2) announced his intention to move to Philadelphia to further his career.
He signed with Pivott Boxing Management in September 2018 — as did former Top Catz fighter Anthony Sonnier — and Bryant returned to the ring two months later after a layoff of roughly 17 months to fight Rivera.
If there were any questions about the toughness or the chin of Bryant entering the fight, they were answered in vicious fashion. Bryant had little issue standing toe-to-toe with Rivera in the center of the ring, trading haymakers with the hometown favorite as the crowd roared their approval.
However, Bryant did next to nothing to protect himself in the contest, taking a temerity of hooks and uppercuts from Rivera as his chin lacked mobility. Bryant returned the favor at times with potent shots of his own, but the power numbers clearly rested with Rivera.
The fight appeared to be heading towards a unanimous decision in favor of Rivera when in the midst of another Rivera-dominated exchange in the fourth and final round, referee Gary Rosado stepped in and stopped the contest at the 1:11 mark.
Bryant’s next fight has not yet been scheduled.