By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
The sport of boxing has had plenty of famous pairings. Ali and Frazier. Tyson and King. Even Rocky and Mickey.
Now a Beckley pair are hoping to make a name for themselves while helping the community they love.
While they don’t have the showmanship or the accolades of the other duos, trainer Clarence Moore and boxer Vince Avery are hoping to make a splash in the world of boxing.
Moore is the trainer and operator of Champion Boxing Club Inc., a gym in East Beckley with the goal, according to its website, of providing the community with a safe and healthy environment to learn the sweet science of boxing.
“Right now we have 10-12 children and youth,” Moore said. “The goal of the gym was to give the kids an alternative to hanging out in he streets. So boxing is a way to get them into the gym, and there we’re teaching them health habits of regular exercise and healthy eating habits.”
Moore visualizes a day when his gym will help kids get out of their surroundings and expand their world view.
“Another goal of the gym is to take these kids out of Beckley and let them travel and compete in other cities and states,” Moore said. “There’s some kids that have never left Beckley, so with the boxing club, we’re putting together the team and getting them a chance to compete against other kids and hopefully make the world a little better.”
The vision all started when Moore and Avery came into contact over the sport.
“Vince started training last year before we even had a gym,” Moore said. “We would meet at the Hager Street Apartments and go to the park or the basketball court and train there. He’s been there for the whole ride. He’s a hard worker. He’s been very dedicated and so we expect a lot of him.”
Avery’s dedication paid off Saturday night in his amateur boxing debut, when he defeated Jay Church by knockout 10 seconds into the second round at the Pullen and Burke Amateur Boxing Event at Cedar Grove Elementary School.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to do it,” Avery said. “I wanted to do it, then my son wanted to do it. I jumped in there to show them that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Avery, who is coached by former Golden Gloves champion Horace Watterson, feels that the gym will have a positive impact on East Beckley and the kids who live there.
“It’s something good to see. We didn’t have that when I was little,” Avery said. “We didn’t have it, but they stepped up and made it happen. When we got the gym, we didn’t have no punching bags, we didn’t have no ring. We started training on the street. Now we’ve got little kids coming into the gym to train. It’s a good thing.”
Avery will get another chance to prove himself during his next fight, the Hometown Heroes Championships at the Charleston Civic Center on March 1 and 2.
Anyone over the age of 8 years old interested in learning how to box or in competing in upcoming boxing events should contact Moore by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (304) 853-0706.
— E-mail: email@example.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.