“Shotgun” Winchester will appear on a card featured by Lucky Punch Promotions (based in Virginia), and is one of five North Carolina fighters scheduled that evening. The event will take place at the Lera's Baile Mexicano venue in Ruffin, North Carolina.
Following is the Greensboro Live Magazine story and a video interview of James “Shotgun” Winchester posted on YouTube where you will hear him speak of his hopes for a better life, while fighting his way “out of the hood” and release from prison, to become a better husband and father to his children. He was interviewed by Nikeema Lee.
Paco Rivera, GAR1680 N.C. Boxing Talk
Greensboro Live Magazine - http://gsolive.com
Cover Story: Shotgun’s Redemption
When I first met James “Shotgun” Winchester I thought to myself, this guy can’t be a boxer. He’s small and has no weight to him. Boy, was I wrong. With one word I sustained an instant TKO, not by his fist, but by the power in his heart.
Shotgun’s will to survive the streets of Reidsville, NC was like a Tyson right as he recalled his life in and around crack houses. Delivering body blow after body blow, he described the circumstances that landed him in prison at the age of 15 and facing a 10 year sentence for murder. He’d work the body, and then jab and go back to the body while telling his story of how getting out of prison the first time only landed him back for another attempted murder charge.
Man, just when I thought I was about to hit the canvass, he pinned me to the ropes with his tale of triumph. Telling me of lessons he learned from fight promoters and how he’d known he had to make a change in his life; not only for himself, but for his beautiful wife and three sons. It wasn’t until he told me he was 34 years old and still had more fight in him that I threw in the towel, pleaded for my life, and begged for mercy.
“Shotgun” Winchester is more than just a boxer out of Reidsville. He’s a product. He’s a showpiece of a small town that proves no matter what you go through, that you can make the best out of life if only you try. Here‘s his story.
Greensboro Live: James, tell us a little bit about yourself. I know you’re from the triad area.
James “Shotgun” Winchester: Yes! I’m from Reidsville, NC. I come from a childhood of living in the streets. I’m trying to do something positive for me, my kids plus people who are trying to do good things in life.
GL: How was it growing up in Reidsville?
JW: It was rough. I grow up in the hood, living near crack houses. Living a life that landed me in prison at the age of 15.
GL: Tell us about your prison experience.
JW: I went to jail at the age of 15. I was charged with first degree murder. They turned that over and I ended up getting a lesser charge of 2nd degree murder. I was in jail from 15 to 21 years old.
GL: When did you start boxing?
JW: I starting boxing while in prison. I did it to learn a trade. I knew when I got released I was going to be a felon. I knew I would have strikes against me.
GL: How was your transition from prison life back to civilian life?
JW: When I came home in 2000, I ended up going back to the streets and caught an attempted murder charge in 2005. This pushed me off the street but it also woke me up. I knew I had to change. My life was different now. I had to start thinking. I had a baby on the way. I started to think about what I needed to do and started thinking about how I was going to make my life better. I went back to prison in 2006 for that charge. This time I invested most of the money into bettering myself. I started reading self-help books.
GL: Do you think prison saved your life?
JW: YES! Most definitely! I wouldn’t take one day of my time back. It saved me. I think I would have been dead by 16 or 17 had I not went to prison.
GL: How are you going to use boxing to change your life?
JW: I already have. I’m living my dream. I’m doing something that I’ve always wanted to do. That I was determined to do. I set my mind to it and applied the energy to it. That’s the formula to succeed in life. Once again I’m living my dreams. I have fought in Vegas three times as well as Miami. I have fought on some of the biggest cards like Manny Pacquiao, Sergio Martinez, and even had an opportunity to fight on a Mayweather card. I’m in the biggest squares and living my dreams to the fullest.
GL: Now how has that translated into locally? What do you have going on?
JW: I am putting on my own matches. Doing my part to help other local fighters
GL: How has this impacted your family?
JW: Majorly! I’m a better father and a better husband. I’ve settle down now. I don’t have time for the streets.
I [GL] believe that Shotgun is the future of North Carolina boxing. You can find the rest of this interview exclusively at www.GsoLive.com. Be sure to catch Shotgun in the ring June 14, 2013 in Ruffin, NC. The Rumble in Ruffin, right outside of Reidsville.