This past week I was given the opportunity to interview via telephone Atlantic City’s rising light heavyweight prospect Lavarn Harvell as he prepares for his June 14th bout against Paul Vasquez from Martinez, California.
Larvarn is trained and co-managed by Abdur Rahim Muhammad. His manager is Vito Mielicki and is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. Lavarn has an unblemished record of 12 (7 KO)-0-0. He has been on a four fight knockout streak. His knockout picture of Tony Pietrantonio was shown globally. He is able to land double and triple jabs followed by powerful right crosses. Like a seasoned professional he sets everything off the jab. He prefers to stay on the outside and use his jab but when he has to can get inside and slug. His aggressive skills are coupled by a startling facial resemblance to Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe-hence his ring nick name “Baby Bowe”.
Q- Can you comment on what you know about your opponent Paul Vasquez? Have you trained in anyway specifically for him?
A- No, I’ve looked online but I didn’t see any video or YouTube of him. I heard he was naturally a cruiser weight that’s basically all we know about him and he should have some pop but I’m prepared for whatever he thinks he has to come with. I’ve had good training and good sparring so I am ready.
Q- Your four fights of 2012 all ended by knockout. One knockout photo of you against Tony Pietrantonio was shown internationally. To what do you attribute the 2012 knockout streak?
A- Just staying busy, getting in a lot of good sparring. I was just hungry to get my name out there. With my former promoter we didn’t get a lot of movement. We fought on a few cards that he had. But I’ve been hungry to get out there and get my name recognized because I’ve been doing this for a pretty long time now. I felt that I wasn’t getting the recognition that I was deserving of. So I just took it to the next level and trained even harder and that’s what came from it.
Harvell’s 3rd round knockout of Tony Pietrantonio
Q-This is your first fight of 2013. The longest you have been between fights. How come?
A- Because I live in Atlantic City and we were hit with the superstorm Sandy. When the storm hit the PAL building where I train the roof caved in on it. It had to be shut down all three floors were flooded. So nobody was able to work there. It is closed to this day. But we all meet up at the PAL and the PAL van shuttles us to other gyms. I am currently training out of the Bull Pen gym in Pleasantville
Q- Any predictions for Friday night?
A- Just expect a good fight. I really don’t make any predictions or say anything other than to tell you I have trained hard. I am ready to come back and show that I am still here. I just want to keep on the same road that I was going on and you can expect a good fight
Q- What got you into boxing in the first place?
A– I would come to the PAL club to play basketball or whatever. I wasn’t really any good at that sport. But I would come anyway. And one day I went up to the third floor where there was the boxing gym. I was watching one of the trainers train his son Qa’id Muhammad. The trainer Abdur Rahim Muhammad came over to me and asks was I waiting for anyone. I said no I was just watching the activity in the ring. Then he asked me would I like to try boxing. I was a young 15 or 16-year-old kid at the time. He asked did I want try and I’d try anything once and he showed me how to hold my hands. He taught me to hold my hands up; I didn’t even know how to do that correctly. Ever since then he has developed me to where I am today
Q-You had a sterling amateur career. Did you know right away that you would want to turn pro??
A- No, not right away but the first time I traveled on a plane and went somewhere besides Philly. That’s when I knew I wanted to make this a career choice and being in an
Q-How did you meet up with your promoter Greg Cohen?
A-That was all through my trainer Abdur and he talked to him on a couple of occasions. We got together a few times it seemed like he had a good plan to continue my career and we have gone with him.
Q- Can you comment on your relationship with your trainer Abdur Rahim Muhammad? How did you get with him? What benefits has he brought to your career?
A- Basically all of my benefits have come from Abdur. I have been with him since I was 16. From me not knowing how to throw a punch. I was never a fighter before. I never got in any trouble. I was a quiet kid. Of the fighting aspect everything I know he taught me. He tells me to continue to learn in the sport. To look at other fighters, to look at the good fighters and see what they do right and look at the bad fighters and see what they do wrong. Abdur teaches me things every day on a daily basis. I’m still learning
Q-You’ve been a professional boxer for five years. Where do you see Lavarn Harvell in the next five years?
A- A championship, The Ring Magazine title belt around my waist. I definitely want a little hardware around my waist
Q-Did you ever anticipate when you started that you would be on television and fighting on the same cards as ring legends such as Bernard Hopkins?
A- Yes I always felt that if I worked hard and dedicated myself to boxing that I would get to this point
Q-Outside of boxing what are your interests and activities?
A- I am basically a family man. I have a two-year-old son and two stepchildren 12 and 8 years old. I love them all to death. So I am basically just a home family man. I am at home with my family most of the time. I don’t do too much outside of activities with my family
Q- Three questions in one. Facially you could pass for Riddick’s Bowe’s little brother. Do you know Riddick? Have you met him personally? Has he influenced your boxing style?
A- No I have not met Riddick’s Bowe personally. But I have met his son and we talk over Instagram. I have spoken to his wife a few times. But I am still waiting to meet him. I asked his son to try to hook us up.
Q-Open mike for you. Is there anything that you want to say to the fans and public?
A- Thank all of you for supporting me. And for people just getting to know about me they can expect to see my name out there whole lot more. And I promise I am going to the top
Presented by Greg Cohen Promotions and GH3 Promotions in association with Acquinity Sports and First Round Promotions. In the 12-round main event, undefeated Philippine knockout artist Jundy Maraon (15-0-1, 12 KOs) taking on undefeated NABA and WBA Fedelatin Bantamweight Champion, Juan Carlos Payano (13-0, 7 KOs) of the Dominican Republic in a WBA Title Eliminator. The co–main event features rising super bantamweight Jorge “King” Diaz 17(10)-1-0 of New Brunswick, N.J. battling Miami based Yenifel Vicente 24 (16)-1-2 for the WBC FECARBOX title in a scheduled 8 rounds
Tickets are priced at $35, $50, $75, and $100 Ringside (Rows 1-2). VIP Tables for 10 are also available that include dinner. To purchase, please call 888.612.4191. On fight night, doors open at 6:00 pm and the action starts at 7:30. The Richard J. Codey Arena at South Mountain is located at 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange, New Jersey.