Jamaal Gregory is on a mission of redemption.
The Charlotte boxer earned the N.C. Golden Gloves 141-pound open division championship Saturday with a decision against Dijon Cissell of Fayetteville at Sugaw Creek Recreation Center. Gregory, who lost in the regional final last year in a split decision after winning the state 152-pound final, is determined to make up for it in 2016.
“I got state,” he said. “We’re on our way to the regional and nationals (are) coming home.”
Gregory, 21, took the first step by turning his superior reach and quickness against Cissell, 18. Gregory dominated by flicking the jab and power shots while Cissell tried to slip away for counters, which was expected of the boxers, who’ve competed in several tournaments.
“That’s like my little brother,” said Gregory, who trains at Charlotte Boxing Academy. “Only thing is, in here, there can’t be any of that because they’re coming to take my spot. I’m not losing my spot. It’s not happening like that.”
It was a big day for Charlotte boxers in the open divisions. Aside from Gregory, Lavonte Early (152) of Expo Boxing and Calvin Richardson (178) earned titles with decisions, and 132-pound Stevie Massey registered a technical knockout of Kenneth Nixon of Lincolnton. Massey, who gave up 4 inches, launched his attack from the opening bell, forcing Nixon to retreat before a third-round flurry forced the stoppage.
“I fought him last year,” said Massey, who won last year’s state title in the novice division. “I couldn’t get the stoppage, but I knew he couldn’t take my power. My coach said step it up in the first round, in the second round I stepped it up some more and in the third he said get him out.”
Massey succeeded by wading into Nixon and tossing combinations in volume with body shots. By the third round, Massey was riding a wave of momentum and a raucous home crowd.
“The game plan was to use a pivot move and throw a body shot,” he said. “I couldn’t get the pivot off, but the body shots slowed him down.”