Resident finds calling in boxing ring

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tremain Ashburn of Franklin won his first competitive event, the Virginia USA Boxing League State Championship. -- SUBMITTED


FRANKLIN—After only a year of boxing, Tremain Ashburn won the Virginia USA Boxing League State Championship, his first competitive event.

Ashburn started mixed martial arts training after watching it on television. A graduate of Southampton High School, he called around the area to find a gym.

The 26-year-old found Bushido MMA in Portsmouth, which he said has great teachers, and he liked its members.

It also happens to be the gym closest to his home in Franklin.

After getting started in MMA, Ashburn gave boxing a try.

He started training with Dorin Spivey, a professional boxer with a record of 39 wins, 5 losses and 29 knockouts.

Spivey said Ashburn was “so good at it” and took a liking to boxing quickly.

“With boxing, it’s not just about looking good,” Ashburn said. “It’s also about feeling good. Your body’s got to be real on the inside.”

When he began training Ashburn about seven months ago, Spivey had a great first impression of him.

“I thought he was a good, natural athlete and a good guy,” Spivey said. “He had a desire to learn.”

It isn’t a coincidence that Spivey saw natural talent in Ashburn. Before he started boxing, Ashburn played high school football, basketball and baseball.

Spivey suggested Ashburn fight competitively.

“I was picking things up really fast,” Ashburn said. “Coaches were asking me if I wanted to compete.”

At the state championship, Ashburn competed in the heavyweight division, which requires boxers who weigh 178 to 201 pounds. Ashburn weighs 200 and stands 5-feet-10-inches tall.

Ashburn said he is actually a small heavyweight.

In fact, Spivey said both of the fighters Ashburn defeated at the state championship were much taller than him. His second and final opponent was 6-foot-3.

Despite the height difference, Ashburn defeated them both.

During his first fight, Spivey said, Ashburn broke his opponent’s nose. He won on a technical knockout.

Ashburn said his second fight “went the distance.” It lasted all three rounds and Ashburn won by decision.

“I was in better condition than the other guy; the last round, he couldn’t throw many punches,” he said.

Spivey said even though the other fighters were bigger, Ashburn’s quickness couldn’t be matched.

“I was so proud of him,” Spivey said. “It’s a good feeling to know a guy who worked so hard and it paid off.”

Ashburn’s heart is in boxing now, and he’s going to continue to fight competitively. He said he hopes one day to gain a world title.

“It would be nice to bring back a world title to somewhere no one had ever heard of,” he said.