A second generation hooper in the Golden Isles, Breon Brown has recently discovered a new passion — combat sports. Boxing, in particular.
Formerly a basketball player for Glynn Academy, Brown began his fighting career five years ago at Brunswick Boxing Gym, and the 28-year-old has rapidly taken to the sport. In fact, last month Brown won the Georgia State Golden Gloves in the Novice super heavyweight division for the third time in as many events.
Held in Snellville, the Georgia State Golden Gloves hosts some of the top amateur boxers in the state, and Brown has swiftly earned his spot among them with a confidence and fearlessness that belies his experience.
“I was one of the smaller guys in the weight class,” Brown said of his recent Golden Gloves experience. “The guy that I fought in the finals was actually an ex-football player. He was like 245 pounds, 6-5. I weighed in at 211, and I’m 6-2. He had about 30-something pounds on me. Didn’t matter.”
Brown credited his training at Brunswick Boxing Gym, and specifically partner Alec Eaton, a director of the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency, for preparing him for anything.
“One time (Eaton) hit me so hard, time slowed down,” Brown joked. “For him to be such a big fella, he moves like a middleweight. It’s ridiculous.
“But a nice guy, really knowledgeable guy. I really appreciate him — all the guys that helped me get to where I am now.”
Now, Brown is a three-time Golden Gloves winner with enough fights under his belt to graduate into the Open Division. If Brown wins an Open tournament, he’ll qualify for regionals.
If he can make it through regionals, next up would be an opportunity to fight for the Golden Gloves of America. The final frontier for Brown would be a spot in the Olympic Games with Team U.S.A.
That may still be a ways down the line, but for as quickly as Brown has picked up the sport, anything is possible.
Before his first Georgia State Golden Gloves back in 2018, Brown had hardly taken a blow outside of a controlled environment.
“Going in to my first tournament, I had never been in a fight,” Brown said. “Never ever fought out in the streets. I sparred — that’s different. I’d never been in that kind of hostile environment ever.
“But I had my coaches, I had my friends that had been in it before kind of help me relax, tell me what it was, just help me out.”
However, it would take fewer than two minutes of ring time for Brown to discover he was cut out for boxing. He knocked out his first Golden Gloves opponent 20 seconds into the second round with what felt like a glancing blow, and he’s been infatuated with the sport since.
The feeling of being thrown into the fire is what drives Brown. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Brown is proving to be one of the few that also has a plan after.
“I like strategy,” Brown said. “I’ve always been a strategic person. I like to just see what it’s like to be able to think under stress.
“I found a book that I like called the ‘The Book of Five Rings.’ It’s by a samurai named Miyamoto Musashi, and it’s a really good book. It talks about the mindset of a warrior; how to gaze, how to stand, where your mind should be at. I actually read it this tournament and it really helped out a lot as far as getting into the right mindset.”
Though he’s still only getting started in his own boxing career, Brown plans to help pass along that mindset to younger fighters once he hangs up his gloves. He’s already unknowingly provided a role model for a couple of 14-year-old boxers at his gym.
And while he’s proven himself plenty proficient before, Brown’s not just fighting for himself anymore.
“The little kids, Ben and Jorge, I took them under my wing, especially Ben,” Brown said. “I would say Ben’s about 5-9, 5-10, 14 years old, and he’s like, ‘Man, I like how you fight,’ so he’s been trying to mimic a lot of the stuff that I do as far as fights. So he asks me for advice when he spars, he’s always asking me.
“I look at them like little brothers. They’re good kids. I love being around them. I love them to death. I know they have the potential, and they’ve asked me to help corner them with my coach because they kind of look up to me, and that makes me feel good, that I can impact their lives at such an early age.”