Kiwon Toney may have been a bit of a slow starter in his bout Saturday in the 76th Chattanooga Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament, but the hard, straight left hand the southpaw landed shortly before the final bell punctuated a strong finish that started a round earlier.
Toney is a fifth-grader at Calvin Donaldson Elementary fighting in the 80-pound weight class in the 11-12 age group for the Westside Boxing Club. His three-round decision victory over Vaughn Ammons, from the Rocket City Rocks club in Huntsville, Ala., was one of 26 fights on the card at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Toney came out of his corner after the first round and began looking more like a national Silver Gloves champion, which he was in 2011.
"He kept me backing back in the first round. Coach told me to keep using my jab," Toney said of Westside trainer Andy Smith. "I think I got inside real good starting in the second round. He was trying to throw his power and I was able to move and counterpunch."
Toney's best flurry in the match was in the second round when he pinned Ammons in his own corner and unleashed a series of lefts and rights.
"What we were trying to get him to do was use his speed," Smith said. "That's his best asset. Get in there, get your points and get out."
In the third round Toney maintained the momentum he had seized in the second and gave the judges one last thing to see with the shot to the head to close it out.
"It's always great to steal one at the end," Smith said.
The competition also included five fighters from the Red Bank Boxing Club and eight other Westside fighters. Among them included open-division 152-pounder Ryan Martin, winner of multiple junior national championships, whose bout against Carlos Monroe, from Georgia's Triple Boxing Club, closed out the event.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.