By Sydney Amodio

 

An expected crowd of 1,500 to 1,800 boxing fans will pack the Jamil Shrine Temple for Friday Night Fight, this Friday, June 23 at 7 pm to watch local professionals square off in the ring. Two of White Rock Boxing’s top fighters and Golden Glove champions, Daniel Powell and James Gantt, will be on the card. The event is a first for both champions—it will be Powell’s first main event fight and Gantt’s professional debut.

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Both fighters have trained at White Rock Boxing Gym for about 8 years, starting out under Mike English. Before he turned pro, Powell became a two-time Golden Glove champion and a Georgia Games champion. Gantt, owner of Gantt Quality Services, is trained by White Rock coach James Gallmon. He went to the finals in the Georgia Games and won the Blue Diamond Invitational and Mike English Invitational in 2016. He is also a Golden Glove champion.

“When you win the Golden Gloves, it’s one of the most popular amateur tournaments in the country,” said Billy Stanick, owner of White Rock Boxing Gym and manager of Powell and Gantt. “It’s an advancing tournament. After the state Golden Gloves, they go to the Southern Golden Gloves, then to the national Golden Gloves.”

At the Southern Golden Gloves, Gantt won the best fight of the night and the Ace Miller Sportsmanship award.

“I was the only guy to bring the Ace Miller award back to South Carolina,” Gantt said.

After the Southern Golden Gloves, Gantt decided to turn pro and asked Stanick to be his manager. Friday Night Fight will be Gantt’s first professional boxing match. As a professional, he will wear lighter eight-ounce gloves, no head gear, will spend three minutes in the ring as opposed to the two-minute rounds of most amateur fights, and will fight four rounds. Amateurs fight for three rounds, while professionals progress from four rounds to 10 rounds.

“Once you get up to 10 rounds we call that a seasoned professional,” Stanick said.

Powell has had 13 professional fights, winning a total of 12 fights and 10 were won by knockout. Powell has been the fight of the night before, but this is his first main event fight.

“What makes it special to me is that DP is going to fight a really tough guy named Curtis Morton. Curtis is really tough, he’s fought some top contenders,” Stanick said.

Powell will have sparred close to 100 rounds to prepare for this eight-round fight. He runs every morning before work and trains daily at White Rock Boxing Gym. He is well-known for his exceptional speed. Stanick once had him tested with a computer service which found that Powell can punch 2 and a half times faster than the strike of a rattlesnake.

“DP is a highly-motivated guy and he trains harder than any fighter that I’ve ever managed to train. He’s in that gym every day,” Stanick said. “He is very serious about boxing because he knows it’s a tough game and you have to be in top shape to get in that ring.”

Andrew Stokes is the event’s promoter and match maker. He assembled the fight card, assigning boxers to fight those with comparable skill and experience.

“He has really put together a great fight card. All these fights are going to be highly competitive. Nobody is going to have a gift out there. They’re going to have to really fight to win,” Stanick said. “I think that this one here is going to be one of the best ones that Stoke’s Promotions has put on yet. Every fight is going to be so highly competitive that you won’t know who is going to win until the last round.”

To train, Powell and Gantt spend hours at White Rock doing rope work, punching speed bags and heavy bags, shadow boxing, weightlifting and sparring in the ring.

They are supported by their families who often visit the gym. Powell has the constant encouragement of his wife Natasha, their 10-year old daughter Ninah and eight-year old daughter Alaynah. Gantt married his wife Shaylee on May 20 this year. He has a seven-year old daughter Daisy and a 13-year old stepson Zachary.

Tickets for the fight cost $25 for general admission and $55 for ringside. There will be nine fights on the card and the event is expected to last until 10:30 to 11 pm.