Boarded-up and abandoned houses are a common sight in
Wilson. And in some neighborhoods, drugs and crime thrive.
But Skip Crumpler was able to use boxing to fight his way
out, and now he's hoping to help others do the same.
“I know they're going to be out there fighting in the
street, why not make it legit,” Crumpler said. “Come to the gym and
That is exactly what 13-year-old Corey Ham has been doing 5
days a week since he was 5 years old at the Reid Street Gym.
“While they're doing other things — bad things,
playing games — I'm working hard in the gym,” Ham said.
While other young fighters come and go, Ham has stuck with
“I'm impressed with this kid, so I put in more time
with Corey,” Crumpler said. “But I was surprised he's been with the
program this long.”
Ham also excels at basketball and football. Both sports tug
at his heart, but not enough to take him away from his first love.
“Sometimes I want to [chose basketball or football],
but I have to stay in the rink and fight,” Ham said.
The young boxer's biggest fan is his father, Kyron Sapp, who
keeps his son pointed in the right direction. Still, watching you son in a physical
sport like boxing isn't always easy.
“Raising someone and then having to take them into
combat — that is difficult,” Sapp said.
But it's better than the alternative, a route too many young
kids in Wilson have taken.
“A lot of these kids in the hood are mostly forgotten.
They come from broken homes,” Crumpler explained. “I can reach out to
them. I feel I can reach out to them better than anyone because I lived in that
Crumpler hopes to fuel the dreams on young boxers like Ham.
“This kid's got boxing in his blood,” Crumpler
said. “He's got determination, and you don't find kids like that. He's one
in a million.”
Ham hopes that determination will carry him to the Olympics.
“Be a champion one day,” he said.