King set for second pro fight Friday night

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Kelvin King has no interest in dominating a press conference. Nor does he march to the beat of chasing the ghost, this need to be North Carolina’s answer to a vociferous, boisterous voice on the national boxing scene.

Instead, King, a Beddingfield High product who played football and wrestled, prefers to let both of his fists do the talking. Much like the welding trade he learned in Pennsylvania before returning to Wilson, King, who graduated from Beddingfield in 2014, just wants to put his head down and go to work.

For the second time as a professional, King will take his trade into the ring Friday night in Charlotte, when he faces Antonio Allen (0-6-1) at CenterStage@Noda in a four-round encounter.

“I’m just doing what I’m trained to do,” King said from Baltimore, the site of his training camp. “I’m going to keep it professional, and I’m always going to try to be the best I can be. I’m not trying to be better than nobody; I’m trying to be the best in the world. As long as y’all believe, just like I believe, we’ll have us a chance.”

King, who has signed with Gardner Payne’s firm Payne Boxing, will be fighting on a card promoted by Christy Martin and Pink Promotions Boxing. Martin, who was 49-7-3 as a pro and widely regarded as the in-ring pioneer for women’s boxing, is the former World Boxing Council women’s super welterweight champion and announced her retirement in 2012.

King, whose uncle was also a boxer, already has one professional victory to his credit in November of last year. He went into the second round before recording a second-round knockout of Alan Beeman (0-15), also in Charlotte.

Early in his boxing life, adaptation and the ability to not make the same mistake twice has served King well. In November of 2015, King took part in his first amateur fight as part of the “Rumble at the Rec” boxing series. He flashed potential then and an in-ring intelligence that didn’t mirror that of a newcomer. But he ran out of stamina, allowing his more experience opponent to overcome him. That didn’t happen the second time around, as a temerity of punches in his second amateur fight caused the referee to step in and stop the bout in the second round.

“You could tell when I was tired,” King recalled of his early fight days. “And also, you could tell my best punch from my worst punch. But now, as a professional and me taking this sport on an art level, perfecting my craft, now it’s to a point where as a professional, you wouldn’t know what was my worst punch or what was my best punch, because I try to keep it all sharp. I don’t show many signs of fatigue. If I did get hurt, you wouldn’t really know.”

But the decision to go pro for King wasn’t cemented until he served as a sparring partner for former International Boxing Federation junior lightweight champion Gervonta Davis during preparations for his fight with Francisco Fonseca on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor card. Incidentally, Davis missed weight and was stripped of his title on the scale, but won the fight.

“That’s what really made me say I’m going to turn professional,” King said of the Davis sparring sessions. “Because what he did, and the skill and talent that he has, you can only get better. You can’t get any worse. So I said hey, I’m going to turn pro. At the end of the day, you join the amateurs to learn how to fight. OK, this is boxing.”

King received access to the opportunity through the network of Skip Crumpler, his amateur trainer and professional cutman.

In between training camps for fights, King also works with Don Turner, the trainer for Evander Holyfield who lives near New Bern.

“He just has the smallest things that will make a big difference in your game,” King said of Turner. “Especially with the training that I get now, and his words, watching old fight tapes with him and really sitting back and watching the smallest things that really matter. Things like, I never thought about that or I see that, but I never knew that’s how you could do it. That’s stuff you can’t really buy.”

King always attempts to stay one step ahead of his competition, referring to it as training “beyond.” In training for his fight with the taller Allen, he already prepared before his first fight by simulating a taller foe. He assures he places no emphasis on an individual scouting report for his opponents.

“We take it one fight at a time,” King said. “But when I say we train for beyond, you have to be prepared for anything. So this time, they say the difference is from my last fight is that (Allen) is taller. But one thing about it is, we were training for that a long time ago. You do so much and see so much, it’s just like, what can he do? So Friday night, we’re going to focus on the jab and do what we have to do.”