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Walk like a champion

 

Kenneth Nixon and Christopher Diaz square off in the boxing ring at the N.C. Golden Gloves Invitational competition in Charlotte on Saturday.

Kenneth Nixon and Christopher Diaz square off in the boxing ring at the N.C. Golden Gloves Invitational competition in Charlotte on Saturday.

Local boxer aims at pro career, positive influence

 

MICHAEL GEBELEIN

Managing Editor

Kenneth Nixon, III was destined to be a boxer.

His grandfather and great uncle were both Navy boxers and his brother, J.R. Young, fought professionally. Now Nixon, 23, is carrying on the family tradition.

He holds a 3-1 amateur record, with one knockout, after Friday and Saturday’s Golden Gloves tournament in Charlotte. Nixon beat Jahnel Ford with a decision in Friday’s bout but fell to Christopher Diaz in Saturday’s 132-lb. championship.

He started boxing at 14, thanks in large part to Young’s influence.

“I grew up around him,” Nixon, of Lincolnton, said. “We were real close, we’re still close. When you’re young, you fight, you get into some trouble. My brother came to me and said ‘instead of fighting out in the street and getting into trouble, go ahead and get in the ring and show what you’re really made of — true fighting.’”

Nixon followed the sport for a time, but soon fell into bad habits and a tough crowd and had scrapes with the law.

The birth of a daughter two years ago forced him to reevaluate the direction his life was facing.

“I wanted to do something different,” he said. “I wanted to do something more positive with my life so my daughter can be proud of me. Ever since she was born, I tried to stay positive.”

Nixon found a job working third shift at R.W. Garcia and laced up the gloves once again. He currently trains at the Kids Dome with coach Kevin Cash.

“Ever since I started back boxing, my life has been more positive,” he said. “People believe in me now. Instead of seeing me getting in trouble, they know that I’m doing something right.”

He said he wants to be an example for young people who face similar situations he faced growing up.

“I want to show younger kids that you don’t even have to box, but the same way you train hard in the ring is how you should train in life,” he said. “Going to college, working, whatever it is that you do — try to keep a positive mind and stay away from negative people.”

Nixon’s typical weekday starts with training with Cash at the Kids Dome on all the aspects of boxing from 5:30-7:30 p.m. He then trains at Maurice Moore’s Karate Academy from 7:45-9 p.m., then goes home and gets ready for work. He works from 11 p.m.-7 a.m. then tries to get as much sleep as he can.

While Cash is Nixon’s primary coach, he goes to Moore for extra training, bag work and sparring.

“I like to be up there because it puts me in a positive atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody believes in me and shows me the positive energy that people need to succeed.”

Nixon is planning to fight in Johnson City, Tenn. on March 29.

 

 

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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