UK student Samantha Kinchen training for Golden Gloves

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJune 10, 2014 

At 18, Samantha Kinchen currently is Lexington's most celebrated boxer.

A Junior Olympic, Golden Gloves, PAL and U.S. Nationals champion, Kinchen won a bronze medal at last year's Junior World Championships in Bulgaria.

The Worlds, featuring fighters from 43 countries, were part of a big year in Kinchen's life.

She just wrapped up her freshman year at the University of Kentucky. It was an adjustment to balance college studies with a world-class training program.

"It was a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be just because, when I was at home, I would ride with my parents to training," Kinchen said. "In college, I have to make the decision to go. I need to make time. Am I going to study or am I going to go work out? I just have a lot more prioritizing to do. But it ended up being OK. It was difficult juggling it, but I learned how to prioritize."

Kinchen plans to be on the card against a yet-to-be-determined opponent when her Lexington Legends gym hosts the Legends Boxing Classic on June 28.

Then, she'll be off to the national Golden Gloves competition at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 7-12.

"Hopefully I'll get at least two fights; hopefully three or four when I go there," she said. "Just because I'll be moving up in the age group, so it will be 19-to-40 instead of the 17-18 that I was in. So hopefully I'll get multiple fights that week."

Kinchen, who fights at 152 pounds, has a record of about 30-3, according to Coach William "Sarge" Farris.

As she nears her quest to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, though, she is leaning toward going up to the 165-pound weight class.

"But I won't go up to 165," she said. "I'll probably gain like six pounds of muscle, so try to stay around 158, 160."

That would put her in the same weight class as Claressa Shields, the reigning Olympic gold medalist.

"I look forward to that. I really do. I hope that we fight," Kinchen said. "If we're ever on the same card, I hope that she wins and I win so that we can meet each other because I think that would be an awesome fight. Just for the experience alone."

Kinchen is seeking to raise $7,500 to cover travel and tournament expenses on her "road to Rio" schedule. Tax-deductible contributions can be made out to Legends Boxing or Samantha Kinchen and sent to Legends Boxing, 1195 Versailles Road, Lexington, Ky., 40508.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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