Unbeaten heavyweight Michael Pirotton is a young man on a mission, and he’s got quite a ways to go. There aren’t too many world-class fighters who come from his part of the world, so to hasten the progress of his journey he is in the United States.
Like a lot of young fighters, Pirotton was inspired by Muhammad Ali. In his case, it was the rebellious nature of the great champ; the ability to live by his own rules and, if necessary, live with the consequences. And he loved a challenge. It was the competitive urge brought on by all this that drew him into a gym for the first time at age 17.
It was simple – a friend told him that even though he was a big guy (currently he stands 6-foot-5), that kind of size didn’t always mean so much in the boxing gym. To Pirotton, that was just fine. His posture was that he wasn’t looking to get by solely on brute strength, but with speed, savvy and intelligence, just like Ali, his idol.
So what you’re going to see from him as he does battle against Walter Jones on Thursday night in Boxing Insider Fight Night at Sony Hall is a guy who is committed to moving about the ring, jabbing and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.
He talks of using his legs to help him implement a “mathematical approach” that has evidently worked thus far. He is a work in progress, having had just fifteen amateur bouts and just seven as a pro.
Pirotton’s roots are in Belgium, which has admittedly not been a hotbed of boxing activity, whether it is on the amateur or professional levels. And Burkina Faso (the former Upper Volta), where he has ancestry, hasn’t produced a whole lot either.
But his rationale was that if someone knew how to take West African talent and move it along in the pro ranks, it was Michael Amoo-Bediako, who handled Richard Commey of Ghana, who had held the IBF lightweight champion.
And ultimately, it was time to make that inevitable trek to America.
What came with that was a promotional contract with Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, who first kept him in Belgium and put him into action in his fifth pro fight against veteran trialhorse Igor Mihaljevic.
Going a full six rounds with an opponent of 20 bouts was a fruitful experience. And in his last two bouts, in Detroit and New York, respectively, he tallied victories over undefeated hopefuls.
On Thursday night, he’ll be encountering what is, by all accounts, his most difficult challenge, against Walter Jones, who also has a 7-0 mark and who made quick work of undefeated (9-0-2) Moses Johnson in his last bout just two months ago.
The list of great Belgian heavyweights is by no means long. Perhaps the best was Pierre Charles, who had nearly 100 fights, held the European title and registered wins over the likes of Young Stribling. And Burkina Faso has literally no one to speak of.
Can Michael Pirotton rise to the top, for the sake of his countrymen, in both nations?
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