LAGRANGE – The Evans brothers took care of business.
LaGrange’s Vito Evans and A’Killias Evans were among a group of seven local boxers who competed in the Ringside World Championships in Missouri earlier this summer.
Vito Evans and his younger brother, 9-year-old A’Killias Evans, both boxed their way to the top spots in their respective age groups in the tournament that was held from July 27-30.
Also participating in the tournament were Shamiracle Hardaway, Dymond Hardaway, Benjamin Gravitt, Javon Harris and Deonta Carston.
All of the boxers train with coach Randy Hardaway at Back2Basics Boxing in LaGrange.
Randy Hardaway said each of the boxers has fully committed themselves to the sport, and it paid off with some impressive performances at the Missouri tournament.
“It’s a lot of heart, blood, sweat and tears, a lot of dedication,” Hardaway said.
For Vito Evans, winning a championship belt at the Ringside World Championships was nothing new.
Evans, a student at Troup High, won the tournament a year ago, and he beat an impressive slate of opponents to make it back-to-back titles.
In the semifinals, Evans beat someone who is a part of the USA Boxing program, and he followed that up with another impressive win in the finals.
For Vito Evans, this success hasn’t happened by accident.
He trains dilligently with Hardaway at the B2B gym, and that hard work is paying off.
Earlier this year, Vito Evans and Gravitt competed in the Golden Gloves Nationals in Utah, and now he has another championship belt to add to his collection.
“I trained every day, twice a day for this tournament,” Vito Evans said. “And I knew I could win it again. So that’s two consecutive years. I just had to do my best in the gym.”
Hardaway said Vito Evans’ semifinal match was his most difficult because of the talent and skill level of his opponent.
“That fight was very strategic, it was very intense,” Hardaway said. “We couldn’t make a mistake in that fight. Any mistake would have cost him. The fight was close. We had to out-smart this kid.”
Evans started boxing a few years ago when he was 14-years-old, and he said he “fell in love with it.”
The first member of the family to start boxing was A’Killias Evans.
He remembers a moment a few years back when his mother asked him what sport he’d like to try, and he chose boxing.
“My brother was playing football,” A’Killias Evans said. “When football season was over, my mom said it was my turn to pick a sport, so I picked boxing.”
A’Killias Evans enjoyed it from the start, and he has had never had any issue putting in the work necessary to succeed in the sport.
“It was real fun,” he said. “I just had to train hard in the gym, and I had to work hard every day.”
Of the other local boxers competing in the tournament in Missouri, Shamiracle Hardaway, Dymond Holiday and Gravitt each reached the semifinals, and Harris made it to the championship match in his division.
At the moment, B2B Boxing makes its home in a building on Hill Street, but with an ever-expanding group of boxers, Hardaway said he is looking for a larger home for his organization.
Hardaway said he’s also on the lookout for anyone willing to offset some of the cost of taking the boxers to tournaments across the country.
Hardaway can be reached at (706) 616-7459.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports