Sports

Local boxer Money Powell ready to put on show at Sugar Bert national qualifier

Young Fort Mitchell boxer Money Powell is a national champion

18-year old Money Powell IV, the reigning USA Boxing Men's Youth Welterweight champion, trains with Jason Jones at the Game Bred Boxing Club in Fort Mitchell
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18-year old Money Powell IV, the reigning USA Boxing Men's Youth Welterweight champion, trains with Jason Jones at the Game Bred Boxing Club in Fort Mitchell

Local boxer Money Powell IV, a highly ranked amateur in the welterweight class, highlights a list of fighters who will compete in the Sugar Bert Title Belt National Qualifier Saturday and Sunday at the Lumpkin Center on the Columbus State University campus.

Powell will be fighting competitively in his hometown for the first time. While his father is retired military and the family has been all over the world for active duty, the Central High graduate and current Fort Mitchell, Ala., resident considers Columbus home.

“I’m a little nervous because hometown people will be coming to watch, but that’s motivation for me to do better,” Powell said. “I never fight anywhere near here. We’re really going to put on a show for the people.”

Powell got into the sport at a very young age but couldn’t fully participate until coming back to the U.S. The family was stationed in Germany during a large part of his childhood.

“My father showed me Roy Jones Jr. boxing videos when I was only 5 or 6,” Powell said. “Through elementary school, I really wanted to box, but we couldn’t find a place in Germany, so I played the basic sports the military offered like football, basketball and soccer. In second grade, we had a project where we had to say what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said I wanted to be a boxer.”

The family was later stationed at Fort Benning, and in 2011, Powell stepped into a boxing gym for the first time. He came into his own when he started training at the Game Bred Boxing Club in Fort Mitchell.

“Before (Game Bred), I was winning fights and was so-so, but when I came over here, I won my first tournament in 2014. I finished No. 1 in the 145-pound weight class. In 2015, I won the Ringside World Championships, and I got to meet Roy Jones Jr. It was like meeting my superhero.”

Powell won a 17-18 year old national tournament in the 152-pound division earlier this year, earning him a spot at the AIBA Youth World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, in November.

“That will be the longest time away from home for me,” Powell said. “I’m going to Colorado Springs to the U.S. Olympic Compound for a two-week training camp, then when we go to Russia. It’ll be a 16-day tournament. I’m going to get a nutritionist. I’ve never had to keep my weight down for that long.”

Diet and conditioning, according to Powell, are two of the biggest facets of preparing for a big fight, including his bout this weekend at CSU.

“Diet is one of the most important things. You eat certain foods to give you energy, no junk food, no bread,” he said. “We do a lot of running, 2 miles every day, sometimes 8 to 10. With strength and conditioning, we run with tires, bag drills, lots of exercises with the medicine ball, and ab workouts. Body shots hurt way more than a head shot, so we do a lot of ab workouts.

“In boxing, weights are bad for you unless you’re doing small weights with lots of reps. Once you build muscle, you move up in weight class, and you want to stay as small as possible.”

To get quicker striking power and speed, Powell uses heavier gloves when he spars and shadow boxes using 5-pound weights.

“When you put those smaller gloves on, you’ll be faster,” he said.

Powell just missed out on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month as he missed the age limit by less than three weeks. While he hasn’t ruled out representing his country in 2020 in Tokyo, there is a high risk and high reward to weigh out.

“Tokyo sounded real nice,” Powell said. “But they took the head gear out in that division, and there’s been a lot of cuts and people getting head-butted and requiring up to 20 stitches. You don’t get paid for it, and you’re taking a risk. They won’t pay you (professionally) if you keep getting cut.”

Powell is focused, taking one fight at a time, and is locked in for his bout this weekend at the Lumpkin Center.

“Bottom line, I’m going to work out to be the best I can be, pound for pound,” he said.

Sugar Bert Boxing Title Belt National Qualifier

  • When: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. start both days
  • Where: Lumpkin Center, on the Columbus State campus
  • What: Boxers will be competing to qualify for the Sugar Bert Boxing Title national championships, which will be Nov. 18-21 at Kissimmee, Fla.
  • Format: Olympic-style boxing in a double elimination tournament in various weight classes. The winner in each class advances to Kissimmee.
  • Tickets: General admission tickets start at $10.
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