Having gained some boxing experience, Nigee King is looking forward to fighting on a bigger stage.
"I'm very excited. I just hope I have at least two fights (in the national Silver Gloves competition)," he said.
Nigee, an 11-year-old North Augusta Middle School pupil, will be the North Augusta Boxing Club's lone representative at the national competition Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 2-4, in Independence, Mo.
Although Nigee has been boxing for only about 18 months, it will be his second time at the nationals. He lost his only bout last year.
He's boxed in several matches since that first trip to the nationals, said Eric Holman, Nigee's stepfather and one of his coaches.
"He has a lot more confidence - almost too much at times," said Mr. Holman, who has been working with Nigee at home to improve his chances at the nationals.
Nigee wouldn't be the only boxer representing the North Augusta club if the national tournament was open to girls, said JoAnne Newman, an owner of the boxing club.
"Girls haven't been in boxing that long," she said, and it's only been in the last few years that they were allowed to compete at the regional level.
"They need to have their own separate (national) tournament," she said.
If there was a national competition for girls, regional winners Amber Bush and Christian Domingue would probably be in training for it.
The regional tournament in Augusta was an exciting one for Christian, a Midland Valley High School freshman. Christian, who has had few matches, was somewhat surprised by her win over an experienced boxer from the Washington, D.C. area.
"I thought she could win," Christian said of her opponent. "She could box well."
Mrs. Newman said there were several athletes at the regionals who train at the Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing Gym in Washington.
Amber, a North Augusta High School freshman, won her first fight ever in a competition. Although she's been training for 18 months, she has had only two bouts because of a lack of competition in the area. "It was fun, but I was still nervous once I got in the ring," she said.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.