Named by The Charlotte News as the best athlete in the Charlotte school system in 1947, Adkins began his boxing career at the Red Shield Club in 1941 at the age of 12. He won his first Golden Gloves as a 136-pound Novice in 1946. Moving up to Middleweight Novice, Adkins won his second Carolinas Gold Gloves championship. He added a 147-pound Novice Class championship during the Concord Golden Gloves in 1948. Adkins’ professional career was also impressive with a Middleweight record of 56-1-0. His military service record was perfect at 22-0, including the Light Heavyweight championship at Patrick Air Force Base in 1951.