Nashville needs to be watching Caleb Plant.
You don’t have to be a boxing expert to enjoy watching “Sweet Hands” work the ring. Or to figure out how he got his nickname.
The Nashville-based fighter is ranked No. 13 in the IBF fringe super middleweight class. He moved to 15-0 (10 KOs) after a unanimous decision last Saturday night over Thomas Awimbono (25-8-1, 21 KO).
The Mid-State area isn’t exactly known for producing boxing talent but Plant is undefeated and as fun to watch as any young fighter out there today. He’s technically sound, lightning quick, and, most importantly, he’s a showman.
His confident, brash style keeps you fixated round after round and it compliments his blue-collar work ethic and raw toughness.
Because where that confidence (and toughness) comes from is as much a part of the 24-year old’s story as his unblemished record or nasty left hook. Plant grew up with very little in poverty stricken Ashland City, Tenn., and boxing quickly became a safe haven. He began training at nine years old and began building a name for himself. After graduating from Sycamore High School in Pleasant View, Tenn., Plant jumped into the amateur ranks with a flurry.
Within a year, he took home the Golden Gloves National Championship at 178 pounds and shortly thereafter landed a spot as an alternate on the United States’ 2012 London Olympic team. He turned pro, had a bright future and was using his craft to accomplish his dream of becoming a pro boxer.
However, in January of 2015, shortly after moving to 5-0 as a professional, Plant’s entire world was thrown upside down by unthinkable tragedy. Plant’s 19-month old daughter Alia died from a rare medical condition that, at the time, the doctor’s didn’t even know what to call. She was experiencing over 100 seizures a day.
Coping with this sort of pain makes the physical pain of going into the gym seem trivial. It drove Plant to escape Ashland City and continues to drive him to be champion today – a promise he made to his daughter before she passed.
He’s open about his upbringing, career path and tragic loss. It’s also likely what makes him a supremely talented fighter.
Nashville isn’t known for producing boxers but if Plant’s career continues the way it has gone thus far, he will be a star in the 615 in no time.
So you should be watching.