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Antwun Echols, a dangerous middleweight contender in the 90s and early 2000s, has passed away.
Echols, who was known as Kid Dynamite, died Sunday in Davenport at the age of 52, according to his former trainer, Leonard Overstreet Sr.
“He had the hardest punch,” Overstreet said to the Moline Dispatch & Rock Island Argus
“Antwun and I go way back. We were childhood friends. I started working with Antwun when he was an amateur at the Davenport Boxing Club. I worked with him and once Antwun got himself together he beat everybody in the gym.”
Patrick Pena, who stopped boxing in 1989, now runs the Davenport Boxing Club, which was started by Pena’s father Alvino in 1968.
Pena would go to his father’s gym to spar with people to stay in shape, and among those sparring partners were Echols and Overstreet.
“I saw Antwun boxing and I sparred with him and I thought, ‘This dude hits hard,’” Pena said. “The power he had was tremendous. He had heavy hands.”
Pena believes could have been a more dangerous fighter had he moved down in weight.
“It’s too bad he didn’t go down a weight in boxing,” Pena said. “If he could have gotten down to 154 he would have been the hardest hitting junior middleweight.”
According to Pena, Echols had been living in Florida and had plans to open his own gym.
There was no official cause of death released, but both Overstreet and Pena told the paper that Echols suffered from diabetes.
Echols walked away from the sport in 2016, with a record of 32-22-4, with 28 of his 32 wins coming by way of knockout.
Most of his defeats were on the tail-end of his career, when he was past his best and used by matchmakers as a veteran opponent to build up rising contenders.
During his career, Echols failed in his attempts to capture the IBF middleweight title from Bernard Hopkins in their two-fight series in 1999 and 2000. In 2003, he also lost a twelve round unanimous decision to Anthony Mundine, who at the time held the WBA title at super middleweight.