Heavyweight Prospect James Wilson: “I’m Here To Tear You Apart”
By: Sean Crose
“I really feel like they got me,” says James Wilson, the 7-0 Southern California based heavyweight on his recent signing with the noted Golden Boy Promotions. “We were on the same wave length…we just spoke the same language.” Wilson is unique in that he came to boxing somewhat late after engaging in a variety of different sports, including kickboxing and MMA, where he did a stint with the prestigious Belator organization. “Before boxing,” he says, “I was doing MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai…I absolutely wish I had made the transition sooner.” Still, the fighter adds that having outside influences in combat sports can also be beneficial.
Other sporting endeavors, he states: “helped me even though I started a little later.” One of the things that has clearly helped Wilson is the attitude he brings towards the sweet science, especially in its contemporary state. “None of the guys who are the top dogs so to speak right now,” he says, “have what I have.” He’s speaking, of course, of his fellow heavyweights, who he intends to put on notice this weekend when he faces the 3-0-1 Juan Torres on the undercard of the Jaime Munguia-Takeshi Inoue junior welterweight title fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
“Here’s the thing,” he says, brimming with confidence, “I’m not looking to go into a fight and box.
I’m coming to do my job, get my check, go home to my kids.” Wilson, whose won six of seven bout by knockout, wants to see the sport go back to the action packed era of the 70s-90s. As his manager, Jared Shaw puts it, the current boxing scene has “too much boxing and not enough fighting,” a common complaint in a world where MMA has gotten popular. Perhaps, then, the mindset of a former MMA fighter can be something of a game changer. “I’m going to smash some faces and go about my business,” he says. “I’m not here to box you, I’m here to tear you apart.”
Not that Wilson wants the world to think he’s a terrible person. There is, after all a distinct difference between in and out of the ring behavior. “I’m a killer,” he says of his fighting style, “but outside the ring, I’m the coolest guy.” To be fair, the man certainly comes across as likable. “I’m a very personable person,” he states, “and can adapt to any situation.” Does that include a situation where his opponent is more eager to box than stand and fight? “I can play both sides of the game (skill and power),” he says. “When it’s time to go there, it’s not a problem.”
As for the future, Wilson intends to stay active. “We’re looking at possibly having six fights,” he claims of 2019. In the meantime, there’s business with Torres to contend with, on a card of note, no less. “It’s a great card to be on,” says Wilson. “I’m good. I’m ready to go. I’m thankful.”
“The awe factor, the wow factor,” he says, “that’s what I’m bringing back. So don’t blink…the only mode I know is beast mode or no mode.”
DAZN Monte Carlo Results: Lebedev Decisions Wilson, Hunter KO’s Ustinov
By: Ste Rowen
In the slightly surreal surroundings for boxing at Casino de Monte Carlo, former WBA & IBF cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev scored a unanimous decision victory over the unbeaten Mike Wilson to improve his record to 32-2 (23KOs).
Also on the card, American Michael Hunter scored his second knockout in consecutive months with an impressive stoppage of Alexander Ustinov. WBA super-flyweight champ, Kal Yafai scored a controversial decision over Israel Gonzalez, Fanlong Meng took a stoppage win over Frank Buglioni and Kazakh Thunder, Daniyar Yeleussinov stopped no-hoper, Marcos Mojica inside three rounds.
It was Lebedev’s first fight outside of Russia since he lost a split decision to Marco Huck in Germany in 2010, but he started tonight as if he was the home fighter, making the most of the middle ground, punishing Wilson if he dropped his guard even slightly. Wilson was holding his own though, the former US amateur standout might’ve been being beaten to the punch, but it wasn’t stopping him from trying to get on the front foot as it headed into the middle rounds. In the 5th, the Russian landed a huge left hand which the American sucked up but his already bloodied face was getting increasingly redder.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
19-0 (8KOs) heading into tonight, Mike was up for the fight and prepared to take some to land one, the problem was in the landing, specifically that he wasn’t. Lebedev stalked around his foe, measured in his approach, constantly chipping away at the taller man from his southpaw stance. In round 7 Wilson tried to switch it up, countering a lot quicker than before but still struggling to significantly dent the iron-chinned, Lebedev.
As the fight drew on into the final few rounds of the scheduled twelve, Denis began to tire a little, relying more heavily on single power punches. His movement was however good enough to keep the American from creeping back into contention, until he slipped on the canvas in round 11 and took an unforced tumble.
The last time Lebedev fought an unbeaten fighter he was knocked down en route to a decision loss to Murat Gassiev, tonight there seemed no chance of that happening again. As the bell for round 12 rang, it was now or never for Wilson. He had no other choice but to opt for the latter because though Mike came out knowing he needed the stoppage, the 39-year-old was too slick and too wary of getting into a fire fight this late into the bout. Both made it to the final bell, and we went to the scorecards; 119-109 (x2), 117-111 all in favour of Denis Lebedev and he spoke post-fight,
‘‘I would put myself at 4/5, like a big 4. I did everything my coach said. I think I performed well and overall, I’m glad’‘
And who does he want next,
‘‘There are a lot of fighters in my division who want to fight Usyk and I am one of them. I will follow the resolution of the WBA and I hope my side and Usyk’s side can make that happen.’‘
Michael Hunter vs. Alexander Ustinov
Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter yet again fought and won on the road for the second time in just over two months with a 9th round knockout victory over Alexander Ustinov.
‘The Bounty’ Hunter isn’t exactly small, it was obvious which of the two had recently moved up from cruiserweight, but it didn’t stop the American from making the more aggressive start; cleanly landing on multiple occasions with long right crosses. Early on, Ustinov’s only success was coming when he tied Hunter up, despite the Russian’s reach, Michael was countering brilliantly with short left hands.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Alexander the great has lost twice as a pro but only stopped once when he was knocked out by an unbeaten Kubrat Pulev back in 2012, and tonight his chin looked as if it was holding up against the power of the smaller man.
The prize on offer was the WBA ‘International’ belt, previously held by the Russian and most recently wrapped around the waist of Dereck Chisora after his KO victory over Carlos Takam this year, and in round 8 Michael went all out to grab the title early. He fired and landed two huge right hands dropping Ustinov who rose but only just made it to the end of the round.
By the start of the 9th the Russian looked as if he had regained his senses but with just over a minute left of round 9, Hunter once again landed a huge hook, this time with his left hand, and Ustinov slumbered to the ground and his corner threw in the towel.
Just two months ago Hunter, as professional, was famous for going the distance with Usyk, two fights later he’s defeated an unbeaten prospect in Martin Bakole, and a respected fringe contender in Ustinov. No doubt big fights await in 2019 for the 30-year-old. Hunter, now 16-1 (11KOs) spoke immediately after the fight, as did his trainer and former heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman.
‘‘I want that USBA title (last held by Vyacheslav Glazkov in 2015), it’s very important to me. It’s in my lineage, my father held it…I want all the names, but I want that title.’’
‘‘He is the future of the heavyweight division. He’s beating these guys with power…Did you see him? He went down like, TIMBERRR’’
Kal Yafai vs. Israel Gonzalez
WBA super-flyweight champion Kal Yafai made the fourth defence of his world title with an underwhelming and controversial 12-round decision over Mexican, Israel Gonzalez.
Yafai, now 25-0 (15KOs), came into tonight off the back of an impressive stoppage win over David Carmona in May, and his intentions were clear early on as he concentrated his efforts on landing a stiff single jab to deter the Mexican from marching forward. Gonzalez was relying on quick spurts of hooks and was seriously lacking anything substantial enough to give the champion anything to worry about through to round 4.
Into the middle rounds and Gonzalez was doing well to tie Yafai up and limit his outside game, where Kal was having the most success in the early stages of the night. With two minutes left of the fifth the two boxers clashed heads, Israel came off worse, lifting his head to reveal a long cut above his left eye. The ring doctor was called in to take a look but allowed the challenger to continue.
Wearing white-gold shorts and gloves, the champion began to pick up his pace as the fight headed into the 8th but his output was lulling. Gonzalez’s energy was good as he bounced in his corner at the end of the round, Israel fought for the IBF strap held by Jerwin Ancajas in February where he was stopped in the 10th round. Tonight, the Mexican made it to round 11 and his punch output increased as Yafai’s hesitancy to land creeped up. Even if it did little to force Kal onto the backfoot, Gonzalez’s accuracy had improved as the fight went on, but he lacked the heavy-handedness needed to overcome a more technical opponent.
Both boxers made it through to hear the final bell and it felt in the balance. Gonzalez jumped up and raised his arms whereas Kal had the look of a defeated man. It was tense as the judges counted their scorecards. They returned as, 117-111, 116-112 all for Kal Yafai. Ridiculously wide scorecards in favour of the Matchroom fighter. Israel immediately stormed out of the ring in anger. Speaking post-fight Kal was self-critical,
‘‘Very sloppy, I’m a bit embarrassed with my performance. I thought the scores were a bit wide but 100% I thought I’d won. I was the aggressor throughout the whole fight, I just wasn’t busy enough…I never made the statement that I wanted to. I’m disappointed in my performance. I’m not happy with that at all.’’
Fanlong Meng vs. Frank Buglioni
Southpaw, Fanlong Meng earnt a 5th round TKO over Frank Buglioni, to claim the IBF Inter-continental light-heavyweight belt.
Buglioni, though lacking accuracy, made an energetic start which kept the former Olympian at bay through to round three where Frank put his foot down and sensed an opportunity to finish things early. But Meng’s credentials were on display in spots. His counter-left hand catching the Brit on numerous occasions.
For the first 90 seconds of the fourth, Buglioni appeared stunned and unable to block the power punches coming his way. However, he regained his composure before the end of the round and fired off his own arsenal to slow down Fanlong’s attack. The two went for it at the beginning of round five of ten, firing 1-2’s then taking 1-2’s and repeat.
The former British champion sustained a deep cut above his right eye, seemingly from a punch rather than a clash of heads, and on two occasions in the fifth the referee called a timeout for the ring doctor to inspect, unfortunately for Frank on the second timeout the doctor called an end to the bout meaning Meng picked up a technical stoppage victory improving his record to 15-0 (9KOs).
Daniyar Yeleussinov vs. Marcos Mojica
2016 Olympic welterweight gold medallist, Daniyar Yeleussinov moved to 5-0 (3KOs) with a third-round stoppage victory over Marcos Mojica.
It was evident from the first bell that there were quite a few levels between the two boxers. Mojica, 16-2-2 (12KOs) who’s fought almost the entirety of his pro career as a lightweight, did his best to evade attack and did reasonably well in the 1st round to avoid the ‘Kazakh Thunder’s’ heavy left hook. However, in the second, Daniyar dropped his Nicaraguan foe with a fast-left hand that partially landed on the back of Mojica’s head, knocking his balance.
Mojica rose and began to open up his own attack, but it was sloppy at best and on more than one occasion he lost his balance trying to get out of the way of the Kazakh’s quick handed combinations. Marcos was dropped for a second time just before the bell for the end of round 2, rising to make it to round three.
Just 30 seconds into the third, Yeleussinov dropped Mojica for a third time and it set up the finale as he unleashed a volley of punches as soon as Marcos rose, forcing the referee to step in and call an end to the fight. Daniyar now moves to 5-0 (3KOs).
Super Heavyweight to Cruiser Never Hurt Mike Wilson’s Ability!
Super Heavyweight to Cruiser Never Hurt Mike Wilson’s Ability!
By: Ken Hissner
I used to see Mike Wilson and Mike Hunter’s names in the amateur results all the time. Both are unbeaten in the professional ranks at 15-0. Wilson turned professional in 2009 at the age of 26 which Hunter is now. At 33 Wilson has reduced his weight down to cruiserweight and is ready for a “new start” under well-known manager andadvisor Bob Spagnola out of Houston, TX. He worked with former WBA super welterweight champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout, former IBF bantamweight champion Orlando Canizales, former IBF featherweight champion Calvin Groves and former IBF middleweight champion Frank Tate. “Mike is a hard worker who got in better shape as a professional getting down to cruiserweight,” said Spagnola.
Wilson draws 3,000 fans in his fights in his home state of ORE. At 6:03 as a cruiserweight it hasn’t diminished his ability. He is 15-0 with 7 knockouts and will be turning 34 this February. He was the 2004/2005 US Super heavyweight champion to give you an idea how much weight he has reduced down to. He had quite a good amateur career against top opponents though 36-20. He has been trained from day one by Jimmy Pedrojetti. He even has his own gym in his house where others boxers come to train.
Wilson defeated Nate James three times, split with 2004 Olympian Jason Estrada, won 2 out of 3 against
Nicolai Firtha including the 2004 Olympic trials. The win put him in against Estrada where he lost in the finals and in the box-off. Healso defeated now professional boxers Eugene Hill, 32-1, Travis Kauffman 30-1, Lenroy Thomas 20-4 and Donovan Dennis 12-3.
In contacting Jason Estrada’s father who also promoted he had this to say: “Wow, is he still fighting? Tough kid. Think he was probably able to get most of his amateur success because of his big heart. Skill wise probably B- but perseverance A+. I know he did win the US Championship’s and that’s no joke. And he made it to the finals of the Olympic trialswhich is also hugh accomplishment. Great kid,” said Dr. Roland Estrada.
Wilson’s loss in 2007 to Mike Hunter 25-24 was a turning point in Wilson turning professional. He also lost decisions to Victor Bisbalwho represented PR in the Olympics now 22-3 and Mike Marrone 21-6. As you can see he fought the best US heavyweights. “I took Marrone for granted and it cost me. He hurt me with body shots in the first round and I was glad it was only 3 rounds. When we met in our second fight I beat him so bad he held on until the referee finally had to DQ him,” said Wilson. It is so refreshing to hear a boxer speak with such honesty as Wilson.
“Mike had a great amateur career and we wish him the best in his professional career. I think he made the right decision to fight at cruiserweight. Mike has a good jab and has the amateur experience that should help him go far,” said Marshall Kauffman. This is from the father and trainer of his son Travis who was world ranked until an injury set him back. Marshall promotes under the Kings Promotions banner out of Reading, PA.
Wilson turned professional in August of 2009 winning three of his first four fights in Tunica, MS, and one in Memphis, TN. “I got in touch with Bob Spagnola whom I knew and wanted some help and he sent me to Australia to spar with David Green who was preparing for B.J. Flores. Green asked if I wanted to be on the undercard and I agreed. I was match with the Australia and New Zealand Golden Glove champion Jae Bryce and won a decision,” said Wilson.
Next for Wilson was a win over 32 fight veteran Joseph Rabotte in RI, promoted by CES. Then in his debut in his home state of ORE in August of 2012 at the Seven Feathers Hotel & Casino Resort, in Canyonville, ORE, he started became the local favorite. Next came a stoppage in Montana and three more fights in Oregon. He defeated Rayford Johnson, 7-8, Mike Alderete 7-6-2, and Derek Williams 4-0 in April of 2015 after being inactive for 18 months. In his last fight in 2015 in July he knocked out Juan Reyna, 5-4-1, in 2 rounds, at the Fairgrounds in his hometown of Medford, ORE.
Wilson improved to 15-0 with 3 wins in 2016. In January he stopped Adam Collins, 13-11. In May he won a 6 round decision over Mike Bissett, 10-8. In his last fight he defeated ArandoAncona in September over 8 rounds. His next scheduled bout is January 13th at the Jackson County Expo Central Point, in ORE, against heavyweight Aaron Chavers, 7-1-1, who is to come in at 199 in a scheduled 8 round main event.
The state of ORE is most remembered for the Moyer brothers, Denny and Phil. Wilson decided to have his wife serve as promoter naming the promotion “White Delight Promotions”. That was the nickname he had gotten in the amateurs. It reminded me of 1976 Olympian Chuck Walker who got the nickname of “White Chocolate” from the otherwise all black teammates. “Back in the amateurs if you were white and you could fight you were respected and that’s where the name White Delight came from the black fighters,” said Wilson. This is how it is in most environments in boxing when you earn the respect of being a minority in boxing.
“We have such good fans. We do ringside tables and I know all the blue collar folks, electricians, plumbers and we have girls serving drinks and advertising for the business people. We did 44 tables the first show we promoted. We charged 1k a table for the first row, 750 for the second row and 500 for the third row which usually were not the advertisers,” said Wilson.
Without the casino’s or PPV’s in ORE the Wilson’s have made a success doing the promotions the “old fashion way!”