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Coach uses boxing to mold lives, shape individuals

One of Washington County’s most successful sports seems almost a secret to those not affiliated with it.
Despite the lack of extensive local coverage, boxing in the area is gaining national accolades.
In 2000, through a joint venture with Johnson City and the Housing Authority, boxing opened its doors for kids in Washington County.
“We offer every kid an opportunity at no charge to pick up the sport,” said Scott Vance, who heads the program. “At this time, we have 40-45 people participating.”
The boxing club is registered under USA Boxing in Colorado. Participants range in age from 8 to 35, and the club is open Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m.
During hours of operation, sessions are scheduled based on age, giving boxers the opportunity to train.
Vance is proud to have the sport as a part of Washington County and believes it is very beneficial for many kids.
“Boxing is an outlet for kids who come from tough backgrounds,” he said. “It is different from other sports and we really get to see kids turn for the best.”
Vance sees the sport as a tool to shape the lives of many in a positive direction.
“We do drug screenings and hold our boxers accountable for their grades. If they don’t make the grades, they can’t box,” he said. “This encourages the kids to put forth great effort in and outside of the ring.”
Vance even encourages his boxers to continue their education after high school, opening doors to other facets of life.
Not only is the program a positive influence on the character of those associated with it, the club also is home to several national and world champions — 14 to be exact.
Many of the boxers under Vance’s direction are also Olympic hopefuls.
Brothers Charlie and Blayton Watson, both former David Crockett High School students, are just two of the many talented boxers.
Charlie, who is now 20, won the 2008 and 2009 Southern Golden Glove Championship, a high honor in amateur boxing.
Blayton, too, won the event in 2008. Jared Reyes, a current Washington County School System product, is another very successful boxer from the program, with a Ringside world champion title.
New boxers start with exercises to teach them the sport.
“We teach the jab first, then continually add to this; eventually, it starts coming together for the kids,” Vance said.
When the kids are ready to enter competition, they travel all over the country, many times with their coach.
“We really believe we have one of the best programs in the United States,” Vance said. “And none of this would be possible without Johnson City and the Housing Authority. Roger Hensley, one of our coaches, also has put a great deal of time and effort into putting this program where it is.”
Vance said he enjoys all the success the program has achieved, but his greatest reward lies elsewhere.
“I have had national champions, world champions and we have achieved really great success,” he said. “All of that is fine and dandy, but for me, watching the kids grow as people is the most rewarding aspect of what I do.”