Gabriel Blackwell is no stranger to winning in the boxing ring. With three Golden Glove wins, along with regional wins, state wins and a Georgia Games championship, Blackwell knows what it takes to make it out of the ring with a win.
However, winning in the ring wasn’t all Blackwell sought to achieve. After earning certification through USA Boxing as an instructor, Blackwell opened 180 Boxing in Manning in 2017 as a place for children and adults to get fit and learn boxing skills.
Not every young student yearns to compete in the ring, choosing instead to learn agility, strength and endurance. Blackwell also teaches kids to believe in themselves, striving to instill a sense of confidence in his young students.
“I want to instill in kids to give it their all,” said Blackwell. “Sometimes you can tell they’ve never really tried their hardest. But when they’re put in the position of boxing, which they’re not familiar with, it causes them to step up their game and really try hard.”
Blackwell also teaches boxing cardio classes for adults, which center around strength training using weights, boxing and crossfit types of exercises.
But it’s not all fun and games. Blackwell also teaches students, both adults and minors, who wish to compete in the amateur boxing ring. Two of his youth students and five of his adult students will compete in the upcoming USA Boxing event to be held in the Manning High School Gym on November 10.
The boxing competition is a national event, with competitors coming not only from South Carolina but also from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and possibly Alabama. The doors will open that evening at 5 p.m., and the events will begin at 6 p.m. with a total of 20 matches.
All competitors must be registered with USA Boxing. Those who are may call 180 Boxing at (803) 460-8465 or email at email@example.com with name, weight, age and experience if they wish to participate.
The adult boxers from Blackwell’s studio include DeShawn Sinkler of Summerton, who will fight his fifth match; Katrina Gibson, also known as K5 or Hurricane Katrina, who will fight her third match; Manning policewoman Dakota Stephens, who will fight her second match; Terrence Holliday from Summerton, who will fight his first match; and Bryan Boatwright from Manning, who will fight his second match.
The two youth boxers are Madison Caldwell, an eighth grader from Scott’s Branch, who will fight his second match, and DeAndre Cantey, an eighth grader from Manning Middle School, who will fight his first match.
Tickets are $10 for a bleacher seat or $20 for a ringside seat and may be purchased by contacting 180 Boxing or may be purchased at the door. Attendees four years old and younger get in free.