Daniel Powell came to boxing later in his sporting life.
He spent his youth on baseball fields, where he played four seasons as a second baseman in the Irmo High program. But years after graduating from Irmo in 2002, he had a void in his sporting life when he and a friend decided to sneak into White Rock Boxing, a Columbia-area gym run by Billy Stanick.
Powell was tantalized by his first taste of the sport. Stanick was tantalized by Powell’s raw ability.
“He saw the potential in me,” Powell said. “We stuck with it.”
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It offered what he has come to view as the perfect athletic outlet for him after his days of fielding ground balls and swinging the bat ended.
“The transition from baseball to boxing wasn’t hard for me. I tried it out, and have liked it ever since,” he said.
After starting his amateur career, Powell progressed through the ranks before winning South Carolina Golden Gloves championships in 2010 and 2011, as well as the 2010 Georgia Games championship, as a light welterweight. Under the guidance of Stanick, who has run White Rock Boxing for 20 years, Powell turned professional in 2012.
Since that time, Powell has made a steady progression as he has learned the ropes – in this case, more than just a figure of speech. He has won all 10 of his fights, nine by knockout, with the most recent a December fourth-round TKO triumph against unbeaten Richard Rivers in Greensboro for the UNBC Carolinas championship.
Although many young fighters these days are drawn to mixed martial arts, Powell fell in love with boxing.
“It’s the sweet science,” he said. “It’s not a street fight. There are a lot of technical aspects like punch placement and the strategic game plan you have to put together in order to beat your opponent. Once you get that and acquire all those little gizmos and gadgets, it all comes together and becomes second nature.”
Powell’s development has impressed Stanick, and others are beginning to take notice as he continues to become more seasoned.
“He’s got the killer instinct. When he sees an opening, he hurts you,” Stanick said. “Promoters, people in the boxing world, saw he beat a 9-0 fighter, and that upped his stock.”
Powell’s day job for the past six years involves working for Stanick’s roofing business, which he works around an intense training regimen that starts with a 5-mile run every morning. After getting off work, he heads to White Rock Boxing every day for workouts that can last up to three hours.
His wife, Natasha Powell, and two young daughters, Ninah and Alaynah, provide the support system for him, which makes things easier as he tries to work his way up through the professional ranks. He knows at age 30 that he’s older than a lot of his competition. But because he got a late start as a 22-year-old, he figures that he has far less wear and tear on his body.
“I’m a young 30,” he said. “I take this very seriously. I train every day. As far as how long I’m going to be fighting, I’ve got maybe four or five years in me, God willing. I’ll take it one step at a time, find the opponent, study the opponent, train for that opponent.”
Stanick truly believes that Powell, who’s called DP by all his friends, has what it takes. Ever the promoter, Stanick trumpets that Powell’s hands are two-and-a-half times faster than that of a rattlesnake, a claim he states is backed up by a high-tech computer test. He’s convinced Powell, whose next fight is scheduled for May 30 at the Main Event Fitness Center against an opponent still to be determined, has all the other qualities that make him one of top fighters Stanick has trained.
“DP has got the best chance of any of them I’ve ever had because of his dedication and his discipline,” Stanick said. “He’s got everything it takes. He’s got the chin, he’s got the heart, he’s got the fire in him, he’s got the punch, and he’s got the speed. I don’t see a weak link in the chain.”