Angel Cummings, Jabreiona Hankinson, Tyriona Hankinson, Tyesha Harrison, Kendahl Brockington, Terrell Lockett and Tyson Pitts are all excited to compete at the national level.
These local kids are the best in the state, and two of them, Lockett and Jabreiona Hankinson, are defending national champions for their respective weight classes. The competition began on June 22 and goes through June 29. The team hopes to bring home multiple national titles this year.
The club run by James and Brittany Hankinson started in 2012 in their backyard.
“I built a boxing ring and put some boxing bags up," James said.
The organization has evolved into the Hankinson Boxing Gym, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been taking athletes to the Junior Olympics for four years.
"(The group) teaches the fundamental skills to become successful amateur boxers and successful young adults,” Brittany Hankinson said. “We take children ages six and up. The group is an after-school group as well. The kids come and work on homework and then we train. We keep them occupied.”
The training is the toughest part. Almost every athlete admitted that conditioning was the most challenging aspect of the sport but agreed that it paid off when they won. “Winning is the most rewarding part,” said Terrell Lockett.
A rewarding future seems to be well on the radar for the whole team.
James has a background in boxing and the organization puts his passion to work while the couple works to love on the kids.
“We wanted to make a difference in the community,” he said. “When you see a community going downhill, either you can add to the problem or create a solution. When kids come here, they’ve come looking for love in the right place. We try to encourage them to do the right thing.”
Donations to the gym are gladly accepted. For more information on how to contribute to the team, visit hankinsonboxinggym.com