CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Believe it or not, Louisville native, Kendrick Wilson's road to the ring was much harder than any training session he's experienced in his boxing career. He lived in the old Southwick Homes, and was moved into a foster home at the age of 10.
"I lived in a foster home and I had anger issues. A kid could say anything to me and it would provoke me, and I would just fight him. That was my way of getting attention and dealing with my anger," said Wilson.
Wilson is now able to take that pinned up rage out in a more constructive way - in the ring. His trainer, Dan Bolden, says he has taken on the role of a mentor for Wilson as he continues in his boxing career.
"Trying to link a different technique to an aspect in life. Keep your hands up. That means stay out of trouble, leave these guys alone. Duck the right hand. That means don't walk into that trap, you know that ain't going to work," said Bolden.
Wilson says his first introduction to Louisville great, Muhammad Ali's legacy came at an early age. Life was difficult for him in foster homes, and his quick temper often landed him in trouble. He says his teacher took him to the side and told him about Ali.
"I remember my teacher Ms. Black over at Middletown Elementary, she broke down to me. She said anger, it could be a good thing. You can use it in a good way. And she broke down to me who Muhammad Ali was, and that's when I first got introduced to who Muhammad Ali was," said Wilson.
He's taking up the same sport that made Ali famous, but Wilson says The Champ's biggest influence on his life comes away from the squared circle.
"One of the first things I learned from Muhammad Ali was when someone is doing something wrong, you speak up about it," commented Wilson.
He also realizes that Ali's footsteps are impossible for anybody in this day and age to follow.
"The Civil Rights Movement and all that stuff, that stuff is not stuff that I'm going to go through. And the man, he's on a whole other level. For me to say I want to be like him, it would be just creating a dream that's gonna lead to failure because there will never be another Muhammad Ali. He was that great," said Wilson.