Tommy Hearns and Jackie Kallen Want to Bring Big Time Boxing Back in Detroit
By: Bryant Romero
Tommy Hearns and Jackie Kallen have finally kicked off a venture that’s been in the long making as “The Hitman” is finally taking a swipe at boxing promoting. Something he’s been contemplating doing since he hung up his boxing gloves over a decade ago. Hearns recognizes how good boxing has been to him and only wants to give back to a sport that has made him a boxing legend. He is hopeful that with this new endeavor, his name recognition and with the support of the boxing fans in the Detroit that both he and Jackie could bring in more boxing shows on a consistent basis in the Motor City.
“The people of Detroit have always been so supportive of me and have been in my corner from my pro debut on,” the Hitman said.
“I really want to give back to my city and bring them the best up and coming fighters around. Our goal is to hopefully get a couple of TV dates next year,” he said.
Not only is Tommy Hearns looking to bring some of the best up and coming talent to his city, but he also wants to give young fighters not only from Detroit but from other cities as well an opportunity to build their records, staying active, and a chance to work with a honest promoter who’s not going to throw them to the wolves. The Hitman wants to be a promoter that gives young fighters the same opportunity that he had in the 1970’s when he was climbing up the professional ranks.
“When I started out, I had the good privilege of being able to fight often,” Tommy said. “I know that times are different, but I want to give some young talent a chance to stay active and develop their skills.”
Tommy and Jackie’s first joint show together will be on June 2 in Detroit at the Atheneum hotel where they plan to showcase two additional cards here in August and October. But how this did venture finally came about which was long overdue?
“Tommy and I have worked together for 40 years,” Jackie told me.
“I started as his publicist when he was 19 years old and we have worked together throughout the years. And he’s always wanted to get into promoting.
“Once he stopped fighting he wanted to start promoting, but it was always just talk. And then fairly recently a lovely dentist here in town, Dr. Reginald Jewell came up to us and said ‘I would like to start a promotional company with you guys and I like to back it and be part of it.
“We hold three dates so far and we’re going to try our hand in putting on some shows for the people of Detroit,” Jackie said.
The duo plan to put on at least 8 fights for their first card in Detroit and both feel that the prospects they plan to showcase have the talent to attract a local following and help with getting some TV dates from a network such as ESPN in the near future.
Who are the prospects they plan to showcase for their first card in Detroit?
“We have Taylor Duerr (6-0, 6KOs) he’s a light heavyweight and he’s got a huge following here so we’re real excited about him,” Jackie told me.
“We have Derrick Colemon Jr. (3-0, 3KOs) and the fans here love him, he’s only 18. He’s really good looking, cute kid and he’s a dynamic fighter.
“We have a guy Isiah Jones (6-0, 3 KOs) who’s also undefeated. I have a fighter out of LA named Oluwafemi Oyeleye (5-0) he’s signed with Mayweather but we’re hoping that together we can work to bring him here for June 2nd as well,” Jackie said.
Both Tommy and Jackie are aware of the challenges ahead now that the boxing business has drastically changed since the 1990’s. But with the talented pool of prospects they plan to showcase in the coming months, they are hopeful that they can deliver more boxing shows to the city of Detroit with more regularity, something that has been lacking in the Motor City for the past few years.
“Our team here is really tight. Detroit has always been a big boxing city,” Jackie said.
“Unfortunately, we had sporadic boxing in the last few years. A fight here, a fight there, no regularity, no consistency in location or regularity in dates.
“So people never really know when there’s a fight and who’s fighting. So we’re hoping to make boxing a regular thing again, where people get used to coming and get used to seeing the same kids each time so they can build a following.
“We want to build certain kids so that these fighters have followings and help them build a solid career,” Jackie said.
You can contact and follow Bryant Romero on Twitter @BoxingTruth88
Mykquan Williams Takes Next Step in Career
By: Bryant Romero
Super lightweight prospect Mykquan Williams takes the next step in his young professional career as the 20-year-old sets his sights on capturing his first regional title when he takes on Orlando Felix (12-1-1, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico for the WBC USNBC silver title at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket on May 5. This is considered a step-up bout for Mykquan (10-0, 6 KOs) as the winner of this fight will be rewarded with a ranking in the WBC’s top 40. But the young prospect from East Hartford doesn’t seem to be fazed at all with the established record his opponent brings and admits he doesn’t know too much about him.
“I’ve seen a little footage of him,” Mykquan told me. “On youtube I watched a little bit, but I don’t watch too much. I’ll usually watch a round or something, but I don’t do too much studying.”
Mykquan has been boxing for 12 years and had 58 fights in the unpaid ranks, but how would he describe his style to the fans that have yet to see him?
“I would say I’m more of a counter puncher, very fast, and just smart overall. I can be aggressive, but I’m not overall,” he said.
Mykquan was only 7 years old when he was first influenced by his aunt who was also professional fighter to start training as a boxer. His aunt would later introduce him to his now trainer Paul Cichon that would eventually begin his journey to becoming a professional prize fighter.
“I went to go see one of my aunt’s professional fights at the Convention Center in Hartford and then after that fight I told her to take me to her gym.
“At the time she was training with Paul, so then a little after that she took me to the gym and she introduce me to the Paul and I’ve been with him ever since,” Mykquan said.
Mykquan admits that it took him awhile to fall in love with the sport and to figure out if this was something he wanted to pursue as a career.
“I knew I liked it (boxing) but it took awhile. I was young, I was only 7 going on 8 years old and kids that age they don’t know what they want to do and they don’t know what they really like as far as sports go, so I just liked the sport and kept going back every day to the gym.
“But it took me a little awhile to actually to start to love the sport and figure out whether that’s what I’m going to be doing as a career,” he said.
Growing up in East Hartford, there were temptations that could’ve swayed him away from his path but the young East Hartford native credits his family and his coach for keeping him on his path and pushing him to keep working hard, to stay in the gym and stay out of trouble. He would eventually meet Jackie Kallen, who would eventually sign on as his manager and is currently guiding his professional career.
“I first met Jackie years ago. My trainer flew her in for her to be a special guest at one of his big amateur dinner shows he threw.
“And I was fighting on the card and he (Paul) wanted her to see me fight because he knew I was going to go pro. He introduced me to her when I was probably like 13 or 14.
“She’s a great manager, she does her job good, and she’s a great lady. Definitely somebody that’s good to have in your corner. She’s been around boxing for so long and knows so many people,” Mykquan said.
The 20-year-old now has a strong supporting cast with the services Jackie Kallen as his manager and with Lou Dibella as his promoter that will help guide him to the promise land, which is his ultimate goal of becoming a world champion. But the young prospect from Hartford is only focused at the task at hand and taking it one fight at a time and is not even thinking about the killers at the top of the talented rich super-lightweight division.
“They’ve been doing a good job of moving me,” Mykquan explained. “They’re keeping me active and I’m still young, I’m only 20 there’s no rush into jumping into something I’m not ready for.”
“We’re taking it one fight at a time. We don’t want to rush nothing; we just want to focus on the task in front of us.
“I don’t worry too much that’s in the future. I try to take it one step at a time, but there’s a lot of good talent at 140,” he said.
Mykquan has came a long way since he first started boxing and is still continuing to learn and getting a better understanding of the boxing business. He’s looking forward to his next fight and doesn’t have a prediction of what will happen, but he does plan on winning.
“I just want to go out there and dominate and be victorious,” Mykquan told me. “I don’t care if I get the knockout, it’s a decision or whatever, I just want to look good and come out with the victory.
“To everybody out there that supports me, just continue to support me. I fight for you guys and I appreciate it,” he said.