Boxer King-Wingate proves she's back, eyeing Olympics

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Detroit — Sometimes, "mommy time" happens inside the Downtown Boxing Club. That's when LaTonya King-Wingate excuses herself from sparring to play with 19-month-old Darnell Isaiah Wingate Jr.

He's already a boxing fan, and loves when King-Wingate slips a pair of gloves over his hands so he can throw punches and move about outside the ring.

King-Wingate is one of the most fearsome women boxers in the world. That was on full display last month when she won the James "Lights Out" Toney amateur boxing competition, defeating Jasmine Hampton.

Within a few weeks of coming off a 32-month maternity layoff, King-Wingate won a silver medal at the Police Athletic League championships in Oxnard, California, and the Toney title.

The next goal is the Olympic Trials in January, where she hopes to punch her ticket to the 2016 Rio Games. Her younger sister, Monayah Patterson, also hopes to qualify for the Olympics.

"I am a mommy all day," said King-Wingate, 25. "As soon as I walk into that gym and the bell rings it is boxing. I am focused. But sometimes I bring him to the gym because I hate to see him cry. I have a sitter for him but it is hard. I've got to work but it is hard to neglect my baby.

"I want to go to the Olympics and he is my motivation. I know if I do well in boxing, it will mean a better life for him."

The victory over Hampton drew out a lot of emotions for King-Wingate, who is 5-foot-2 and 125 pounds. Although Hampton was the crowd favorite, King-Wingate received a standing ovation for her performance.

"That was amazing," King-Wingate said. "To hear the crowd rooting for her in every round I felt I had to dominate each round. I could not let one slip away.

"I outboxed her. I was on my toes. I kept pushing the jab, worked the body and everything worked out."

It was a stark contrast from the finals of the P.A.L Nationals. King-Wingate fought without a coach and had few supporters.

"I knew that during my layoff, (my opponent) was in the gym every day with her coach," King-Wingate said. "I had nervousness the whole time. That takes away a lot of your energy. It takes your legs away. I also went up in weight, but I gave her a good fight."

But the fight against Hampton?

"This was the old LaTonya," King-Wingate said. "I was calm and not nervous, so now everybody has to watch out.

"I am back."