An average adult wouldn't want to meet Tyler Chavous and Nicholas Torrance alone in a dark alley. Not that the 8-year-old and 12-year-old would beat anyone up, but they probably could if they wanted to.
Chavous, a home-schooler from Martinez, and Torrance, a rising seventh-grader at Lakeside Middle, are kickboxers.
The two local athletes are starting to make names for themselves.
"Both are just phenoms in my opinion, said Mark Greubel, the owner of Greubel's Mixed Martial Arts, "They're both extremely talented."
The two friends will be hitting the road next week to test their muscles in the International Kickboxing Federation's World Classic Amateur Kickboxing Cham-pionships in Orlando, Fla.
Chavous will be competing in the 8-9 International Rules division for the first time and will enter the competition as a relatively unknown athlete. He's well-known in the Augusta area kickboxing scene, though.
"Of all my students, Tyler has the most talent," Greubel said. "He's 8 years old, but he takes our adult elite-level classes."
He's also earned national championship honors in jujitsu competition for his age and weight division.
"You have to keep your hands up and stay in a good stance," Chavous said at a practice Friday. "You can't throw punches standing straight up."
For Torrance, the sport is more of a way of life. The 12-year-old said he practices five to six days a week and the results have paid off.
"The only fight he lost was his first fight to a national champion," Greubel said, "and that was because he had to move up in age division to fight."
When both kickboxers take the ring Aug. 10-12, their parents will be ringside cheering them on. Although the sport can be violent at times, Tyler's father, Bo Chavous, was quick to defend it.
"You hear it all the time from people who don't do this kind of thing," he said. "It's all about safety here. Those kids are covered head to toe with pads."
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