When Kelvin King wakes up before sunrise to run, toils for hours in the gym, perfecting his craft, or steps through the ropes to take on an opponent under the lights, he does so with his younger siblings watching, looking up to him.  It’s his younger brother, and two younger sisters and other kids from Wilson, North Carolina that look up to him that keep him grounded, and inspire him to aspire to the highest peaks of professional boxing.


After a successful high school football career as a star running back, King began college, working as a welder and playing football, while looking after his siblings and their schoolwork.  Playing football with players that would end up being top collegiate athletes pushed King mentally and athletically, experience that would serve him well once he transition to boxing.


The financial burden of college was proving to be too much for King and his family, and instead of making his parents bear that burden, he made the decision to leave college and enter the workforce.  A love for sports, and a desire to keep in shape led him to a local boxing gym.  While most boxing stories find the protagonist meeting a coach and hitting the bags the same day, King was turned away.  He wasn’t just turned away from one gym, but several before meeting Skip Crumpler, who began training him at Reid Street Recreation Center.  Crumpler introduced King to Bishop Holmes, and the two would become his coaches and begin laying the foundation for a career in the sweet science. Holmes was a martial arts coach, who began to teach King how to fight, and Crumpler played the role of teaching boxing fundamentals.  


Boxing was a family affair for King – his uncle was a successful amateur boxer, but never made his pro debut.  His parents were and continue to be his biggest fans.  After just five amateur fights, King was ready to move on to the professional ranks.  It was rough time for King, who wanted to fight, but didn’t have a dedicated professional boxing trainer by his side. He became a sparring partner.  It was that experience, joining Gervonta Davis’ camp and performing in his role as a sparring partner, that would catapult King into the pros, and land him an opportunity to work with Gardner Payne of Payne Boxing.


It was a different level for King, and not just because he was sparring with World Champion tier talent.  Fighters weren’t friends at Baltimore’s Gladiator Academy, not right away in any case.  Boxers entering the ring had a “me or you” mentality, and that mindset and competitiveness was both new and enlightening to King.  He came away determined, experienced and ready for the pros.  The gyms that turned him away when he began his endeavor, were calling and asking him to train with them.


Payne watched King take this journey via social media and word of mouth, and was moved by his talent and dedication.  Their partnership blossomed, and Payne took King into his growing stable of fighters.  King won’t be satisfied at winning a world title.  As that beacon of light for his family and the young people of Wilson, King’s goals stretch beyond the ring, and center around success and stability for himself and his family. 



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