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He fights in honor of his brother who died at 32. He just won his first pro fight

Julianne Tran

A Tulsa boxer turned pro last weekend. KWGS' Elizabeth Caldwell was at Terrance Reed's first big fight. Listen above for an audio report.


[crowd sound]

ELIZABETH CALDWELL, BYLINE: In a gym in downtown Tulsa, a crowd of people including photographers, a panel of judges and even an ambulance crew are gathered around a boxing ring. The man most of them have come to see is in a back room, meditating.

TERRANCE REED: I’m just relaxing right now, just telling myself what I gotta go out there and do, and probably start warming up in a few.

CALDWELL: This is a big night for Terrance Reed. It’s his first pro boxing fight. For months he’s been punching a heavy bag…

[sound of heavy bag]

CALDWELL: Punching a speed bag…

[sound of speed bag]

CALDWELL: And eating the same food.

REED: Chicken breast, rice, broccoli and spinach every day.

CALDWELL: Reed started boxing when he was 13. He was running wild on the streets of Kansas City. So his dad collected him and brought him to a boxing gym in Tulsa, hoping to promote humility. But Reed excelled. Now at 28, he says boxing is all he really knows.

REED: I lost a lot of my childhood, you know I was always in the gym. I was always fighting, I was always sparring.

CALDWELL: The road to becoming pro got even more bumpy later. Reed’s brother Darris Hopkins died in 2021 in a car accident.

REED: You know, it broke me down. I didn’t understand it, you know. I knew death was real. I just didn’t think, I never thought I'd see the day when I’d lose my brother. He was only 32.

CALDWELL: Tonight, Reed says his brother is who he is fighting for.

REED: I got his name on my mouthpiece, his name on the back of my trunks.

CALDWELL: When it’s finally time for Reed to get in the ring, the crowd erupts in applause. His opponent is Texas fighter Ashton Royal. Round after round, the two circle each other warily. Reed’s manager Aaron Sloan sits in Reed’s corner and shouts advice.

[sound of shouting]

CALDWELL: It’s a measured fight. Nobody goes wild, nobody falls down. And at the end, Reed is declared the winner, much to the delight of the crowd.

[sound of crowd roaring]

CALDWELL: As Reed poses for pictures, he flashes his mouthpiece with his brother’s name, then climbs out of the ring to talk with the crowd. He says he won partly because he was patient.

REED: I was just in control the whole night, establishing my jab, making him miss, so I knew I had the fight beat. I was just trying to go for the stoppage, but you can’t rush it.

CALDWELL: Though his brother couldn’t be here tonight, cousin Darrien Byrd is.

DARRIEN BYRD: I used to train with him back in the day, I was the first fight he got into with it, so I really kinda taught him all he know, but he doing his thing, and I’m just blessed to come here, watch him, support him, I just love it.

CALDWELL: Reed says he’s looking forward to his next fight. For KWGS News, I’m Elizabeth Caldwell.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.