The chants started even before the bell rang to end the final round.
Cam F. Awesome, from Lenexa, took home his fifth USA Boxing national championship Saturday night, this time in front of a hometown crowd at KCI Expo Center.
“I would say on a normal basis, it doesn’t feel much different than the other ones because I trick myself into thinking it’s not a big deal so I don’t overthink the fight and mess up,” he said. “But it’s different because it’s the first time I’ve won a national championship in front of friends and family. It’s usually in Spokane or somewhere weird and I don’t know anyone there.”
This time around, Awesome knew dozens of people in the crowd, many of which had waited all night for Awesome’s fight, which didn’t begin until around 10 p.m.
He made quick work of his opponent, Blake Davis. The two spent much of the first round feeling each other out, dancing past each other’s outstretched arms without throwing anything hard.
But in the second round, Awesome attacked, and Davis could barely throw punches as he constantly warded off the aggression.
By the time the final bell rang, Awesome was already grinning, and the chants were going up from around the arena. He donned an American flag around his shoulders — “it’s a cape, for the record,” he said — and took a victory lap around the ring as the fans grew louder.
That bell Saturday night could end up being one of the final of his career, too.
Awesome came close to qualifying for two Olympics – missing this year’s competition because he failed to win an international qualifier, and missing 2012 after not being available for drug testing. Now in his late 20s, Awesome has to grapple with the question of where boxing will be in his future. Make one more run at the dream, or hang up the gloves and move on?
His dabbling in motivational speaking and stand-up comedy have been well-documented. And after winning his fifth national championship, the time to build his life after boxing could be now.
“I would love to put on shades and say ‘my vision is 2020,’ because I thought of that whole cliché, the Olympics are in 2020; I thought that would be a great line,” he said. “But I’ve been the dude going to the Olympics my whole adult career. It’s very exhausting to be the dude ‘about to’ go to the Olympics, and I don’t know if I can do that for another four years.”