ANDERSON — Steven Perry never really got to know Wendell Crumes, but few people have made a greater impact on his life.
Crumes, a 1947 Indiana Golden Gloves champion, trained Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings in the sweet science. And Cummings, a 1978 Indiana Golden Gloves champion, in turn trained Perry.
Perry is a two-time Golden Gloves open division champion and six-time Golden Gloves champion overall. He’s also won seven other state titles through various affiliations.
But the accomplishment Cummings is most proud of — and the one that most likely would have had Crumes beaming, too — is Perry’s status as a sophomore this fall at Anderson University.
“Steven was not quite going in the right direction,” Cummings said of the kid he first met 10 years ago at South Side Middle School. “He was struggling in school, and I’m not quite sure he had any idea where his life was headed. And the boxing program has given him a way to focus his discipline and dedication, and he’s had some significant success since then.”
Perry is a member of the National Guard and has been ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation. His goal is to represent the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and after that embark on a professional career.
For now, however, he’s the star attraction at the Crumes Boxing Club — a converted storage room at the Geater Center that now houses the old ring from the Police Athletic League and was dedicated in Crumes’ honor Friday.
The room is a labor of love for Geater Center director Stephon Blackwell, with the support of Mayor Kevin Smith and the Parks Board. Blackwell repeatedly was told boxing couldn’t be done at the Geater Center. There wasn’t room. There wasn’t equipment. And there weren’t any trainers.