Two local youth boxers took home first place in their weight and age classes at the recent Sanctioned Boxing Tournament in McKinney.
The Camp boxing gym took eight young boxers ranging in age from 10 to 29 to the tournament and five of them made it to championship fights. Trylayne Hagood and Brianna Wilson brought championship belts back to Grayson County and three other fighters brought back second place trophies.
“It was a two day tournament with teams coming from everywhere,” The Camp coach Andre Luper said. “If you win on Saturday, you get to box in finals on Sunday.”
Luper has about 65 children that work out at The Camp. All of them have the opportunity to be USA registered boxers.
“Some of my boxers just come to The Camp for exercise because boxing is a lot of cardio,” Luper said. “But I speak with my boxers ahead of time and find out what their expectations are. If they want to do more, if they want to compete, I work with them and train with them to get them ready for competitions.”
The McKinney tournament, which had about 45 teams competing, is a stepping stone to get to other tournaments. Luper said that he hopes to take his boxers to El Paso next.
“They are hungry,” he said. “They are excited. With USA Boxing, there are a lot of tournaments coming up. We just have to get the support to get there.”
While winning was nice, Luper was most proud of the discipline that his team displayed during the tournament.
“It was awesome and I was excited about my team,” he said. “At The Camp, I push discipline. I am a certified official, judge and referee. I had to do all of those things during the tournament. So that means in one fight, I am judging a fight, the next I may be coaching one of my boxers and after that I may be a referee at a fight. I had to work and coach. That means I cannot watch all of my fighters. They did so good. Kids are kids. They could be running around doing a lot of extra stuff, but they were where they needed to be. They behaved themselves.”
Luper also said that he has several fighters who have developed a love for boxing that he thinks can take them far within the USA Boxing Association.
“There are kids that never thought that they could box or could be interested in boxing, they fall in love with it,” he said. “Then they start dreaming. They can go somewhere with this. I have a boxer that wants to go to the Olympics. There is a process to this though. We have to keep training. We have to keep practicing. We have to keep competing.”
Boxing, Luper said, is a competition a boxer has within his or herself and when they work hard and mentally prepare, they will do well.
“When we get to the tournament, the kids started looking around trying to figure out who they were going to fight,” he said. “The 10-year old was like, ‘Coach, where is she at?’ I told her, ‘Do not worry about it. She is probably looking for you. You do not have to look for her. The only thing you have to worry about is you.’ I told her that she has been working hard and I believe in you. I told her that the person she was about to fight was the same age as her and she is the same weight as you so I need you to just go in here and do what you do in practice.”