Will Madera: Life on the Undercard
By: Marcus Navarro
Boxing and humility mix like water and oil. Maybe it just comes with the territory; fighters need to think they are the best to be the best. Or perhaps, all the modesty within the sport belongs to Will Madera.
“Ill” Will Madera from Albany, NY had a solid amateur career but turned to professional boxing after a motorcycle accident in 2012.
“I was just being dumb; I was going too fast on a turn,” Madera said. Luckily, he walked away with only a few road rashes and a gash, but it was a turning point. “It was a reality check, man. Anything could happen, and life could be over that quick. It was all about making smart decisions after that.”
He fights at 135 lbs and 140 lbs and has a record of 11 wins, 5 by way of knockout, 0 losses, and 1 draw as a pro. This Saturday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, he’ll attempt to improve to 12-0-1 against an opponent who has never been knocked out, a streak that he hopes to end.
Anyone who talks to Madera will immediately get the impression that he isn’t too interested in talking about himself. Not that he’s shy, but he’s focused and cares little about boasting.
It’s possible that he’s simply too tired to talk, after all, he is a pretty busy guy. A typical day for Will means he takes care of his younger kids in the morning and gets some rest before he picks up his two oldest of six kids in the afternoon. Then he trains at the gym for a few hours before he heads to his overnight shift at the Center for Disability Services. For nearly ten years, Will worked as a residential counselor.
“It’s really tough with the schedule I have, but it’s more mental than anything. Certain days, I don’t even want to come to the gym, but I push myself to do it that way I can stay on top,” Madera said.
His work ethic and drive are centered around providing for his family. One of those smart decisions he spoke of was switching to Schott’s Boxing after feeling stagnated at his old gym, according to his trainer, Andy Schott.
Andy co-trains Will with Kyle Provenzano and the trio have worked together for roughly three years. The setup is a little out of the ordinary, having co-trainers is like having two head coaches for a football team; who’s orders do you follow?
However, it works for Kyle and Andy, who’ve worked together for 19 years. Andy even trained Kyle as an amateur fighter. It works because they are always on the same page and egos don’t get in the way.
“Will is more important than Kyle, and Will is more important than Andy,” Schott said.
The trio’s next challenge is to stay undefeated. Alberto Alejandro Morales Bautista, a Mexican journeyman, stands in the way. Although, it was a frustrating road to get to their March 24th bout in Toronto.
Madera was supposed to fight highly rated prospect, Teofimo Lopez, who signed with Top Rank after his display at the 2016 Olympics. Madera and Lopez were scheduled to fight at Madison Square Garden this month. However, Lopez got cut during his fight in February, where he improved to 8-0. The bout got pushed to April in Las Vegas, but that card got canceled. Talks for a May fight began, but instead, the fight got called off altogether. This fight would have been Madera’s biggest opportunity to take that next step in boxing.
“It’s all about maintaining composure, even though one fight may fall off, another one will come,” Madera said.
Although disappointing, Kyle and Andy decided to take the Bautista fight rather than to wait and try to force the Lopez fight. “Will is an assassin in the ring, we have to be assassins outside the ring,” Schott said.
It’s a frustrating situation and one that Madera has seen before. He had a 14-month layoff because opponents, for one reason or another, kept canceling. However, you must have a short memory.
“It’s a little bit of a let down for him, but we’ve got to focus on this guy now because if we lose to this guy, we don’t get the other one,” Provenzano said. To his credit, Will stays sharp, during that long layoff, he was still in the gym every day.
“A lot of times in this sport your best opportunities are going to come up because you’re ready. If you’re ready and no opportunities come up, that’s okay. But if an opportunity comes up and you’re not ready, that’s a shame, and a lot of fighters lose out because of that,” Schott said.
That is the life of an up and coming fighter. You work hard outside the ring to provide for your family, and you train hard in the gym while waiting for that big chance. Another boxer trained by Schott commutes an hour and a half to work construction and still finds the time to come to the gym.
It’s a hard life, but it’s rewarding when you finally get that shot. Moving up the boxing ranks the hard way is like trying to win the lottery at times, but you need to be prepared to handle that jackpot money.
His maturity shows, and his lifestyle and personality help. “He never gets too high, never gets too low, very even-keeled… he’s a pleasant guy, he’s not on social media acting like an idiot,” Provenzano said.
Madera doesn’t drink or smoke, he’s not a partier, and he doesn’t bring any negativity to the gym. He stays focused. “You can’t be a rockstar and a champion at the same time, you have to be one or the other,” Provenzano said.
Fighters do win the lottery, Albany boxer Amir Imam fought for the vacant WBC World Super Lightweight Title this past Saturday. Imam fought valiantly against undefeated Jose Ramirez and lost a unanimous decision.
Andy Schott has plenty of stories of boxers waiting for their chance and making the most of it. Stories like of Keith Mullins in the late 90’s who took a championship fight against Terry Norris on a week’s notice and won.
Madera is waiting for his big shot, but in the meantime, he needs to translate all the new things he, Kyle, and Andy have worked on in training into the ring. Looking past his Saturday night date with Bautista, all three want Will to keep climbing the ranks.
“I would like Will to find out how good he can really be. I’d like him to get the right fights at the right time… so that Will’s career can go as far as it can go and there are no questions,” Schott said.
Broadway Boxing Returns Thursday in NYC
By: Eric Lunger
For boxing fans in the NY metro area, it’s time for “Season’s Beatings” as DiBella entertainment brings Broadway Boxing back to the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill this Thursday night. The seven-bout card features three matchups of undefeated prospects, as well as the return of former lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin.
The feature bout of the evening will match Brooklyn’s own Wesley Ferrer (12-0, 7 KOs) against Will Madera (11-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight clash. Ferrer, 25, has knocked out his last two opponents, but he is a poised and disciplined fighter with a precise, technical offense. Thursday will be his second time at the eight-round distance, so expect a contained but offensive-minded performance from the Brooklyn native.
For Madera, 26, Thursday night marks his second appearance at eight rounds as well. Having fought frequently in Canada, the Albany native is making his first appearance in New York City. Fighting out of the orthodox stance, Madera likes to come forward behind a hammer left jab. While defensively sound, Madera is a heavy puncher with a wicked overhand right. With Ferrer more of a pure boxer, and Madera a boxer-puncher, this shapes up as a competitive and intriguing bout.
In the co-feature, two undefeated junior middleweight prospects clash in a six-round affair. Brooklyn-based Hurshidbek Normatov (4-0, 2 KOs) will face off against Nicklaus Flaz (5-0, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico. Normatov, originally from Uzbekistan, is coming off a brutal first-round knockout of Bruce Lutchmedial at Foxwoods Casino in October. Flaz’s last outing was on the same Foxwood card, as he defeated Elie Augustama by unanimous decision.
Rounding out the evening of undefeated prospects is a six-rounder between Larry Fryers (5-0, 2 KOs), a Bronx resident by way of Ireland, and Charles Natal (9-0-2, 3 KOs) of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, at the 147-pound limit. Making his fifth appearance of 2017, Fryers has been active and successful, looking to put an exclamation mark on what has been a break-out year for the 27-year-old professional. Natal currently fights out of Cleveland, Ohio, and brings a five-bout victory streak to his New York City debut.
As a special attraction, Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) of Montenegro will look to bounce back from his recent defeat at the hands of Mikey Garcia in January. His opponent will be Colombian veteran Heivinson Herrera (22-13-1, 6 KOs). Rounding out the card, undefeated heavyweight George Arias (9-0, 5 KOs) of the Bronx, New York, will take on Juan Goode (8-7, 6 KOs) in a six-rounder, and fan-favorite Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon (8-1, 5 KOs) will face Sydney Leblanc (4-5-1, 0 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight clash.
Tickets for the BROADWAY BOXING event are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. All bouts will be available for viewing by visiting the DiBella Entertainment Facebook page, and the entire event will be available in the United Kingdom on BoxNation TV. The doors open at 6:30 pm and the first bout is scheduled for 7:00 pm.