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Wilson teen hopes boxing will carry him to Olympic gold

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Trainer Skip Crumpler helps young boxer Corey Ham put on his gloves. (Todd Gibson, WNCN) Trainer Skip Crumpler helps young boxer Corey Ham put on his gloves. (Todd Gibson, WNCN)
WILSON, N.C. -

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 get recognized."

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 the sport.

"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 environment."

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.

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

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