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At the age of eight, Burton was involved in a street fight on the hard streets of Benton Harbor when three boys jumped on him in which one pulled out a bat and struck Burton across his back. Napoleon Lark (a local boxing trainer) was driving around in his car and spotted the fight and stopped it. Lark drove Burton home and asked Burton would he like to learn how to defend himself and Burton agreed. Courtney began competing in amateur boxing and Lark and his wife Thelma eventually became Courtney and his younger brother Bill's legal guardians.
Burton was a superb[peacock term] amateur boxer, winning the Silver Gloves competition three times, the Junior Olympics back to back (in 1993 at 139 lbs. and 1994 at 147 lbs.), he was a two time International World Champion, and in 1994 he won the 156 lbs. title and was voted the "Outstanding Boxer of the Event" at the World Junior Olympics in Germany. Burton earned a spot on the famous 1996 Olympic boxing team but suddenly declined participating in the 1996 Olympics. He finished his amateur career with a record of (87-4) although he states he had a lot more fights as an amateur and had a career record of (139-16).
Early professional career
Courtney Burton began his professional career in 1996 against Sam Mahmoud in Waukegan, Illinois, Burton won by via majority decision. After his debut fight Burton would quit boxing for a while due to his long time trainer and father-figure Napoleon Lark convincing Burton to go back to school and receive his G.E.D., after Burton dropped out of high school when he was 16 (in which at the time he had quit boxing too.) Burton agreed to do so and completed his schooling and returned to the ring 3 years later in 1999 and faced Nelson Hernandez at the Civic Center in La Porte, Indiana, Burton won by via unanimous decision.
Burton would go on to win 14 of his next 15 fights with one being a no contest before losing his first fight to Eleazar Contreras Jr. in Louisiana, Burton was knocked out in the 5th round after being knocked down five times in the fight. In his next fight in February 2003, he knocked out Tomas Barrientes in the 1st round and knocked out ex-champion Gabriel Ruelas a month later. He then faced veteran and Indiana native Angel Manfredy on July 29, 2003 at the Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana. Burton floored Manfredy in the 7th round and knocked him out in the 8th round, this would become Burton's most glorified and celebrated victory of his career. After beating Manfredy in his backyard Burton immediately shot up in the ranks, during the post fight interview Courtney called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the nationally televised fight. His next bout he faced Francisco Lorenzo in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title. The fight was promoted by legend Sugar Ray Leonard after the great seen Burton's previous breakthrough victory over Angel Manfredy, Burton struggled with Lorenzo but edged his way to a split decision victory.
In his next fights he would hit a hiatus, he was knocked out by Julio Diaz in 2004 in an IBF title eliminator in the 11th round, and would win a highly dipusted bout against Emanuel Augustus in which many critics felt Augustus was robbed due to Augustus outboxing Burton throughout the whole fight and leading tremendously on compubox after the fight, and because the bout was in Burton's home state of Michigan. He lost a grueling match against Ebo Elder on Showtime which by many was one of the greatest fights ever showcased on Showtime's network, Elder knocked out Burton in the last round of their 12 round bout (after this bout Burton disbanded from his long time trainer Napoleon Lark.) He lost his next three fights by knockout as well to Rolando Reyes, Juan Lazcano, and Emanuel Augustus (in their second fight, in which Augustus earned his revenge.)
Burton retired from boxing in 2006 after his lost to Emanuel Augustus in their second fight after being knocked out five times out of his previous six fights. Courtney made a short comeback to boxing at the end of February 2010, and beat Angel Hernandez by split decision. In his last fight he fought Detroit's Vernon Paris, Burton lost by unanimous decision though many felt he won. Burton ended his career with a record of (22-7) with 11 knockouts and 1 no contest, during his professional career Burton won the NABO Lightweight title and was a 2-Time Indiana State Boxing Champion at Lightweight and Welterweight.
He is now a trainer in Benton Harbor, Michigan at First Chance Boxing Inc. with aspirations to start his own boxing club one day. Burton is married and also has a son from his ex-wife named Courtney Burton Jr. (born in 2000), he is also the first cousin of retired 7' 0 Heavyweight boxer Marcellus Brown.
- Isaac Barrio. "Boxing: COURTNEY BURTON. Hardcore Boxing, hcboxing.com, Pureboxing.com,prizefightcentral.com,boxingfirst.com". Hardcoreboxing.net. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
- "Emanuel Augustus vs Courtney Burton part 6/6". YouTube. 1998-01-05. Retrieved 2012-09-28.