By: Hans Themistode
It’s never easy becoming a professional boxer. It becomes even more difficult when you are the son of one of the greatest fighters of all-time.
In a recent interview with BoxingInsider.com Radio which airs every Tuesday on iTunes, Spotify and on the website BoxingInsider.com, Evan Holyfield discussed the challenges and pressures that come with being associated with an iconic father.
Evan, at the age of 22, currently carries the burden of the Holyfield name. His father, Evander, was a force every single time he stepped inside the ring. With an Olympic Bronze medal to his name to go along with world titles at both the Cruiserweight and Heavyweight divisions, Evander capped off an illustrious career with an induction into the boxing Hall of Fame in 2017.
With so much to live up too, it is understandable if the pressure might get to Evan. As the saying goes, pressure does burst pipes. However, it creates diamonds as well. For Evan, the thought of pressure surrounding his career is something that he isn’t just welcoming, but one that he is also relishing in.
“It depends on the perspective,” said Evan during a recent interview with Boxing Insider Radio. “From my perspective, I don’t take it as a lot of pressure. I take it as an opportunity to outgrow my father’s shoes and he truly believes that himself. Each generation always gets better.”
From the moment Evan was born, he was immersed in the world of boxing. It wasn’t just the flashing lights that he became exposed to. It was also the lonely times that he spent with his father and the not so glamorous side of the sport as well.
“I remember I went to one of his fights and afterwards he was doing some of his post workout supplements and me and my brother were asking him what was that. He asked if we wanted to have some. We tried it and it was so nasty and he just kept saying that this was what dedication taste like. It was just really nasty.”
Evan wasn’t a fan of post workout supplements, but that experience along with others helped to shape him into the man he is today.
At the age of 22, Evan officially launched his pro boxing career. Unlike many professional boxers who can fly under the radar in the early goings, Evan had the spotlight shone upon him immediately. His first contest took place on the undercard of arguably the biggest card of the year when Canelo Alvarez moved up two weight classes to take on Sergey Kovalev, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you believe that Evan did not deserve a spot on that card, you are sadly mistaken. Evan has dedicated over ten years of his life to the sport of boxing and had over 80 amateur contest. He lived up to the hype in his first appearance in the ring as a professional as his debut was a destructive one. Evan scored a quick first round knockout over Nick Winstead. He has since then followed it up with another stoppage victory. This time at the expense of Henry Mendez. Even more impressively, Evan managed to pull out his latest victory while not at his best physically.
“It was a little bit of a tough one because I got sick right before the fight. But boxing is all about pushing your limits and sticking to the game plan and that’s what I did and I got the stoppage in the third round. As for my first fight, it was such a blessing just to showcase my skills on such a big card like that. It was just really a great experience to work alongside some of my favorite fighters.”
No matter how successful a fighter is in the amateur ranks, the transition to the pros is always an arduous one. Yet, that isn’t how Evan views it. As long as the handwork is completed, then the results will follow.
“The only little differences is that there’s no more headgear, but as far as stylistically and workout regime I feel like it’s about the same because I’ve always worked out my hardest. I workout every single day besides Sunday, unless we’re getting ready for a fight. I never am in a situation where I have to lose weight because I stay around two pounds away from my fighting weight. I workout twice a day.”
The handwork that Evan displays has no doubt come from his father. Another trait he shares with him is his preference in promoters as he signed a deal with Main Events. The same promotional company that once promoted his father. To Evan, his decision to sign with Main Events strictly came down to who could offer him a level of comfort and guidance throughout his career.
“Main Events catered the most to us and she showed that she really cared and had the best plan for us. Me signing with them had nothing to do with my father. When I step into the ring, it’s me in there. My dad isn’t the one taking the licks. Just because they took care of my dad doesn’t mean that they would take care of me but they showed me that they actually do care about me.”
Although Evan shares the same last name of his legendary father, the two couldn’t be more different in terms of fighting style. For one, Evander spent his entire career at the Cruiserweight and Heavyweight divisions. Evan, on the other hand, will look to make a name for himself in the Jr Middleweight division. As for his fighting style, Evan attributes it to several fighters he has watched over the years. Including his father.
“I believe I am my own fighter. The great thing about boxing is that you can take everyone’s skill and make it into your own. By no means are we the same person,” said Evan when comparing his fighting style to his father’s. “But we have similarities.”
At just the age of 22, Evan isn’t just a promising boxer with a bright future, but he is also an author. Earlier this year, he released a book titled “12 Rounds To Winning For The Youth”.
No this isn’t your typical boxing book either. Instead, it focuses more so on helping the younger generation get through whatever trials and tribulations they are currently facing.
“It’s a book for the youth but anybody who is aspiring to meet their goals can use that book and pull something out for themselves. I still consider myself apart of the youth so I know all about the cyberbullying and how easy it is to get strayed off your path in terms of drugs and technology. I just give a lot of scenarios of things that I’ve gone to and try to relate it whatever it is that they are currently going through as well. It shows that they aren’t the only one who are going through that and I give them tips on how I got through it and how it can help them. But at the end of the day you can give anyone all of the tools and it’s going to be up to them to use them and put them into action.”
With unquestioned power in his fist and a heart made seemingly of gold, Evan Holyfield is already stepping out of the shadows of his father and creating his own path. One that he will undoubtedly be proud of.
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