Light welterweight Dedrick “Yunghitta” Crocklem, 18, is carrying on the Tahoma Boxing Club’s (TBC) rich boxing tradition. The Washington-based TBC has produced a quartet of world champions in professional ranks along with three USA Olympians.
Johnny Bumphus, who was a member of the 1980 USA Olympic Boxing Team that boycotted the Olympics, 1976 Olympic gold medalist Leo Randolph, Rocky Lockridge and Freddie Steele comprise TBC’s world champions club. Tacoma’s Sugar Ray Seales was the lone Team USA Boxing’s Olympic gold medalist in 1972, who was joined on that squad by TBC’s Davey Armstrong.
“We are picking up what they created,” Crocklem said about TBC’s legends. “I discovered them after I started boxing. I met Johnny Bumphus after my 10th fight. I also met Leo Randolph and Sugar Ray Seales too,
“We moved to Tacoma from Louisiana (Baton Rouge) when I was eight. I was getting into fights in and out of school. My mother sent me to my uncle’s house. He had been a boxing trainer in Louisiana. He showed me some stuff and told me you were allowed to hit people in boxing. That Saturday, he woke me up at seven in the morning and he took me to the Tacoma Boxing Club. I saw the gym, went home, and told my mother I wanted to box. I had to pick up my reading before she took me there (TBC) to register. That was 10 years ago, and the rest is history.”
Crocklem may be at the start of a historical run. He captured top honors at the 2021 USA Boxing Youth National Championships. In his first international competition, the 2022 Youth World Championships, he won a bronze medal in the light welterweight division, followed by a gold-medal performance at the 2022 USA Boxing National Championships in the elite division, as well as the honor of being named the Outstanding Elite Male Boxer of the Tournament.
His National Championships run included wins over a trio of California boxers, Justin Viloria, Jonathan Mansour, and Samuel Contreras.
Crocklem is currently training at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. at the Elite Selection Camp to determine the boxer that will represent Team USA internationally throughout the year. Crocklem is currently ranked second in the USA Boxing National Rankings behind 2022 High Performance team member Emilio Garcia, of Laredo, Texas.
A relatively unknown commodity entering the Youth World Championships this past November in Spain, the confident Crocklem may have been the only person not blown away by his accomplishments there.
“I wasn’t surprised because I told my coach that, when I fought overseas, I was going to make a statement,” he explained. “I was going for number one! It was interesting, opening my eyes to different styles and tactics they use. I have more dog in me; I took half their stuff and added it to mine.”
“I had something to prove at 139-pounds and now I’m doing it again (at Elite Selection Camp). This (making 2023 Team USA) is very important for me because I always dreamed of being on Team USA and fighting in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Hard work has gotten me there and I don’t plan on stopping.”
Like many elite Olympic-style boxers his age, Crocklem has his sights set on making the 2024 USA Boxing Olympic Team, medaling, and then turning pro.
“My goals are to go to Paris, win an Olympic gold medal, and turn pro,” Crocklem concluded. “I want to make a statement that not only am I an elite amateur, but I also have the skills to make another statement to test my skills at a bigger level in the pros. I have the skills and I have been fighting for 10 years as an amateur.”
Dedrick “Yunghitta” Crocklem is proud to represent the USA, as well as be part of the Tacoma Boxing Club’s life-changing history.