As a student at Southern Virginia University, a Division III school about 190 miles north of Raleigh in Buena Vista, Va., Dewayne Beamon played football and basketball. But it was boxing, a sport he had always liked but in which his mother wouldn’t let him participate, that was in the back of his mind.
Once he finished school, he began boxing in amateur and Golden Glove events, where if you win, you keep progressing. The Raleigh-based boxer from Goldsboro is progressing. He was 48-2 as an amateur. He is 4-0 since turning pro in August.
On Friday, Beamon, 30, fights Jamaica’s Rudolph “The Cutting Edge” Hedge for the Universal Boxing Federation’s All-American bantamweight title at Dorton Arena in Raleigh.
The Universal Boxing Federation, an international professional boxing organization for men and women, was established in 2012 to “keep the tradition of boxing alive by only sanctioning credible fights against worthy athletes,” according to UBF’s website.
As a bantamweight, Beamon fights at 115 to 118 pounds. Boxing, unlike football and basketball, allows him to compete against someone his size. He was listed as anywhere from 5-foot-3 to 5-6 and as much as 150 pounds at Southern Virginia.
“I’m 5-4, almost 5-5,” Beamon said. “I’ve never considered myself a small athlete. I’m an athlete. People see how cut I am and think I’m bigger than I am.”
Beamon’s Southern Virginia football coach DeLane Fitzgerald, who now coaches at Frostburg State in Maryland, said Beamon weighed 138 pounds when he arrived at the school.
“Dewayne is tough as nails,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know if he can be knocked down, but I do know he’ll get back up. He was a three-year starter and became a leader for us. He played wide receiver and in the slot. We used to hand the ball off to on him on blast sweeps. He ran crossing routes and verticals. He’s an athlete.”
Beamon trains at Retro Fitness on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. There’s a ring in the back of the gym, where he typically spars twice a day leading up to his fights.
Beamon says his interest in boxing dates to his youth, but his parents, Chester, a pastor, and Loretta, wanted him to focus on education and attend college. He played on Eastern Wayne High’s basketball team, but his mother wouldn’t let him play football or try boxing.
Upon graduation in 2004, though, he said he didn’t want to go to college.
“I was hardheaded,” he admits.
But after five years of dead-end jobs, fate intervened. He played pickup basketball at a gym with someone who had connections to Southern Virginia’s basketball coaches. He made a phone call, and Beamon made the team as a walk-on.
“He was the starting point guard his first year,” Fitzgerald said of the 2009-10 season. “But he had what you could call a personality conflict with the basketball coach. That’s when he came over and played for me.”
As for his age, Beamon compares himself to a running back with a few miles on him who makes the NFL despite limited playing time in college.
“My body didn’t take punishment,” he said. “I can say I’ve never been hit hard in football or boxing. In boxing, I work on my offense and defense. I think I’m healthy and very young. I’ve never smoked or drank a day in my life. I feel like I have a young body.”
Beamon, who is his own promoter through Stop Running Promotions, says his plan is to win the UBF title as a steppingstone up boxing’s ladder of the International Boxing Organization, the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Organization and the World Boxing Council.
Friday is Beamon’s second fight at Dorton Arena. In February, he beat France’s Liamine Djaouti in a unanimous decision in front of about 1,500.
“When I was an amateur, I had to travel a lot to fights,” Beamon said. “I want to bring fights here. North Carolina isn’t respected in boxing. I want to bring respect for boxing in North Carolina.”
Dewayne Beamon vs. Rudolph ‘The Cutting Edge’ Hedge