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Kirby king of the ring

Get enough guys around one another and ultimately the discussion will turn to who is the toughest. If the fraternity members of Phi Sigma Kappa at the University of Tennessee start wondering who would win a boxing match, Warren County local Lake Kirby can simply show his brothers his championship belt.
Kirby, a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, won the junior light heavyweight division in the 33rd annual Ace Miller Memorial boxing tournament Saturday night at the Knoxville Expo Center.
Never afraid of a fight, Kirby beefed up this year to participate in the 168-pound division after finishing second in the middle weight division as a freshman. In last year’s finals, Kirby was pitted against the coach from his fraternity and the duo shook hands as the older fighter claimed the title.
This year in a bracket of six boxers, Kirby proved to be the best. Kirby defeated David Alecio, the defending champion at 168 pounds, in the semifinals and Patrick Pickney in the finals. Both matches went the distance as judges declared Kirby the winner after three rounds in each bout.
Defeating Alecio proved to be a challenge as judges decided Kirby won two of the three rounds in the match. In the finals, a second-round knockdown of Pickney sealed Kirby’s win by decision.
While Kirby never envisioned being a boxer, he has adapted to the sport since entering college. Kirby trained with six other fraternity members for three months prior to the event by going to the gym four nights a week and sparring.
After a few days of training as a freshman, Kirby realized he was a natural at boxing.
“I started boxing when I got to college and I love it,” said Kirby. “I picked it up when I got here and I guess I’m pretty good at it.”
Kirby says he isn’t 100 percent on his decision, but he will probably return to defend his title next year.
The Ace Miller Memorial tournament is part of one of the biggest party weekends of the year at the University of Tennessee. Sports Illustrated named the boxing tournament on its list of “102 things you gotta do before you graduate.”


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