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Houston Matters

How Boxing Kept Houston’s Maurice “Termite” Watkins Out Of Jail

The Houston native talks about his career in boxing and using the sport to help youth.

Maurice "Termite" Watkins
Boxer and Houston native Maurice “Termite” Watkins.


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When Maurice “Termite” Watkins was ten, he was consistently getting into trouble with the law. So his dad introduced him to the sport of boxing.

It worked.

At 16 years old, Watkins, a Houston native, became the youngest ever Golden Gloves champion, the annual national amateur boxing competition.

Boxer Maurice "Termite" Watkins
Houston boxer Maurice “Termite” Watkins.

Soon after, he turned professional and was a top-ten contender. In 1980, he challenged Saoul Mamby for the W.B.C. World Light Welterweight Championship, losing in a 15-round decision.

Later in life, Watkins was tasked with coaching the Iraqi national boxing team to compete in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. One boxer was able to qualify.

Watkins is now managing and training Evan Holyfield, the son of former boxing champion Evander Holyfield.

In the audio above, Watkins talks about his career and starting his Fighter Nation Boxing Gym ministry.

Maurice “Termite” Watkins (back row, third from left) poses with youth from his Fighter Nation Boxing Gym.