By: Sean Crose
Not that long ago, an undefeated fighter named Frank Galarza appeared on Showtimes’s lauded ShoBox broadcast to face fellow undefeated up and comer John Thomspson. Brooklyn’s Galarza had already developed a reputation for himself for being an action fighter. Thompson, meanwhile, was said to try to use strategy to keep Galarza from bulling his way to a win. And, for the first round, at least, Thompson looked good. He flicked out his jack and kept his aggressive opponent at a distance. Yet it was all an illusion. Galarza, who was supposed to be the bull to Thompson’s matador, was simply feeling his man out, planning on the best strategy moving forward. Less than a minute into the second round, Thomspon was down and out thanks to a highlight reel Galarza right.
“That was the goal,” Galarza tells me. “We knew he was a great boxer.” Galarza, at 19-2-2, has always been more than just a slugger. “I always tend to do that,” he says of planning out his matches, emphasizing how important it is to “to control to the pace of the fight (to) where you’re comfortable.” Strategy is important to the man. “There is always a plan,” he says, adding that “we try to make these adjustments in the ring.” Still, the Brooklyn native believes there’s room to grow. “Now,” the junior middleweight says, “I’ve been trying to box a little bit…I can box if I have to.” He’s going to be able to employ his developing skill set when he faces Alex Sandro Durate (13-5-1) on August 4th in Atlantic City.
The Duarte fight will be on the undercard of the Sergey Kovalev-Eleider Alvarez light heavyweight title scrap, a high profile matchup that will be aired live on HBO. I ask Galarza if he too will be on the televised portion of the card. “That, I’m not sure,” he tells me. “It would be cool.” Indeed. Televised or not, the Duarte fight is the third match in what has so far been a successful comeback for Galarza. After losing back to back fights with Jarrett Hurd and Ishe Smith, both big names in the division, Galarza had to take some time off. The Hurd loss was a tough pill to swallow and Galarza was still feeling the impact of that bout when he faced Smith. Still, it was promotional issues that played a huge part in Galarza’s year plus out of the ring.
“Promotional problems,” he says of the time. And, in truth, he needs to say no more, for such issues are things boxing fans are all too aware of in this day and age. Things began to improve, however, once Galarza made the leap to Kathy Duva’s Main Events Promotions. “It was the best decision I made,” he tells me. There’s little doubt the man’s career has taken a turn for the better. “I’m coming off two wins with Main Events,” he says. “I’m pretty confident…I’m taking off the ring rust. Simply put, the man is “feeling strong.”
Galarza feels strong about matters outside the ring, as well. Youth Fighting Forward is an organization Galarza helped start that aids young people through the challenges of coming of age. “It was something we’ve wanted to do based off my background,” he says. “I wanted to be more than just my past.” The organization, which has also branched out from New York into western Connecticut, runs on a principle Galarza describes as “bring them in, keep them active, keep them working.” It’s bigger than boxing, Galarza tells me (though there’s boxing galore), indicating that Youth Fighting Forward aims to move on to cover “all aspects of life.”
Galarza makes no money from his charity, however. On the contrary, the man not only provides the organization with time, he provides it with money, as well – his own money. There’s a lot for him to feel good about, especially now that “boxing is getting a lot of attention” again. Should he continue emerging from the ring victorious, Galarza the fighter can expect to get a lot more attention himself.