Since the moment Justin Deloach returned from the 2009 Junior Olympic National Championships, he vowed to make a return trip this year -- this time with teammate Nicholas Torrance.
In front a vocal, partisan crowd at the Augusta Boxing Club, both boxers punched their tickets with wins at the Region 3 Southeast Junior Olympic Boxing Championships.
But those victories came in very different ways.
Torrance dominated Florida's Ricky Tomlinson in the 15-16-year-old, 125-pound division, winning a unanimous three-round decision to reach the nationals in his first year of eligibility.
The 15-year-old Lakeside High School student, known for unrelenting aggressiveness, displayed a new approach in his third meeting with Tomlinson: patience.
"I was very proud of him," said chief trainer and NABO flyweight champion Ray Whitfield, who was in the corner for Torrance and Deloach. "He did everything we asked him to do. It was a perfect performance."
Torrance was content with stepping back and using a devastating counter-punch to rock Tomlinson, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
"I really used my counter-punch well against him. I knew going in that was something I would have to do," said Torrance.
Deloach will make his second consecutive trip to the nationals, but he will do so after losing his bout.
Deloach advanced to the nationals automatically when his opponent, Florida Gold Coast's Lou Grant, failed to make weight (154 pounds) at the morning weigh-in. Despite the disqualification, the fight took place anyway, with Grant winning the decision.
"It's bittersweet," said Deloach. "I didn't fight my best fight. But I'm still happy (about advancing to nationals). My head is still held high."
According to Augusta Boxing Club director Tom Moraetes, Grant checked in four pounds overweight at the morning weigh-ins, even though he made weight for his semifinal match.
"It's not at all common, but it's not unheard of," Moraetes said.
Grant was able to overpower Deloach, forcing the Augusta Boxing Club star to clinch for most of the final two rounds.
"I'm not going to use (his added weight) as an excuse, but I could definitely tell a difference. I've never been pushed around like that," Deloach said.
Torrance and Deloach will compete in the national championships at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in June.
This marked the first time the Augusta Boxing Club had played host to a major event.