By: Hans Themistode
Motivation can vary for every individual. For many boxing prospects, the ability to live a life long dream is the sole driving factor behind their work ethic.
Not everyone however, has that same motivational factor. For the undefeated boxing prospect Derrick Coleman Jr (9-0, 7 KOs) his motivation lies within the bright lights that come associated with becoming a star boxer.
“Growing up in Detroit and not having the life that other kids had,” said Coleman Jr. “That just motivated me because I knew that the only way that I was going to have the life that I wanted was through boxing. I knew that going to college and getting a regular job wasn’t going to get me the lifestyle that I wanted.”
The driving force behind Coleman Jr might be slightly different than others, but it is all the same. His desire to become great was instilled in him ever since he was a young boy.
“I started boxing when I was 4 years old. My Grand father introduced me to the sport. He was an amateur boxer himself so I’ve been around the sport for a long time.”
Those young lessons have seemingly served Coleman Jr right as he gave boxing his full attention. The results were outstanding. An amateur record consisting of 129 wins against only 7 defeats would lend credence to that belief. On the outside looking in, it would seem as though he was successful through his amateur endeavors, but that just isn’t the case according to Coleman Jr.
“I wouldn’t say I was really successful because there was a lot of fights that should have gone my way but they didn’t. I should have won a lot more. I think it was because I have a pro style. I’m more comfortable in a pro ring.”
Comfortable would be an understatement for Coleman Jr. Not only has he gone undefeated through the early parts of his career, but he has stopped his last four opponents he has faced.
Just what makes him so good at the early age of 20? It all boils down to the experiences he has been able to get both in and outside of the ring.
“The great thing about the way my career is going right now is that I’ve been able to spar top level guys. I’ve been in the ring with a bunch of prospects who are currently coming up through the ranks like I am but I also got a chance to spar against Charles Conwell, the Olympian. I’ve also sparred Tony Harrison a few times as well. I’ve held my own in every situation and it has just allowed my confidence to grow even more. The biggest thing that I learned from that wasn’t just that they’re terrific fighters but they also taught me a lot of patience and really understanding what you’re doing in there.”
As is always the case with success, it always leads to other issues. For Coleman Jr, he noticed right away that his surroundings were not ideal. If he wanted to truly reach his potential, he knew that he had to leave his immediate Detroit area.
“I was starting to receive a lot of hate because of what I was doing. I was accomplishing what other people weren’t and looking good while doing it, so me and my team decided it was in my best interest to move.”
Not only was a change of scenery necessary but so was a change in promoters. At the time, Coleman Jr worked closely with his uncle, who did his best to steer his career in the right direction, still, the undefeated prospect needed the help of a big time promoter.
“My uncle took me as far as he could take me in my pro career. We decided it was time to step up with a major promoter because things were getting real expensive. Food, cost of living, the entire lifestyle can get really expensive. We just wanted a promoter to handle a lot of things for me so that I can focus on boxing. Vito Mielnicki was the perfect guy. I really like his approach because he’s a hands on guy unlike other promoters. Most promoters will sign you than forget about you. With Vito Mielnicki, he’s more like a family guy. It’s been a great move for me and my career.”
Coleman Jr will look to continue his dominant start to his career on October 25th, at the 2300 Arena, in Philadelphia. Although he would love to keep his knockout streak alive, more than anything, he just wants his hand to be raised at the end of the night.
“If the knockout comes then it comes but all I want to do is win.”
For Coleman Jr, he has dreams that stretch far beyond just winning his next fight.
“I want to become a world champion and become a legend in the sport. That’s the main goal. To become a hall of famer, become that name that everyone can remember. I looked up to guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Marvin Hagler and Roy Jones Jr. I want to be remembered like they are.”