Hang around a gym long enough, and you’ll start hearing the same stories, especially the one about the troubled teen who turned his life around through boxing.
Meet 27-year-old New York native Mike Marshall, a reformed “knucklehead” turned professional fighter looking to capitalize on his gift and become the light heavyweight champion of the world, lofty expectations for someone who didn’t even put on gloves until he was 18.
“I wasn’t into boxing when I was younger. I was into the streets,” said Marshall (1-0, 1 KO), who makes his CES Boxing and Mohegan Sun Casino debut Saturday, Oct. 17th, 2015.
“If it wasn’t for boxing, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. I’d probably still be a knucklehead.”
The nephew of renowned trainer Andre Rozier, who’s worked with world champion Daniel Jacobs and Curtis Stevens, among others, Marshall’s been in and around boxing his whole life, except his fights took place everywhere except the gym.
“I was always a fighter growing up as a kid. I was just fighting in the streets,” he said. “Then one day I got into trouble and a police officer grabbed me and took me to the boxing gym. He said I had anger issues or whatever.
“But I didn’t follow up. I was a knucklehead. I just went to the gym one time and didn’t bother with it, but then it stuck with me as a I got older, so as I got older I went back to the gym and then took it serious.”
Marshall participated in a few “smokers” around the New York area and eventually advanced to the National Championships twice as an amateur before honing his skill as a sparring partner for established pros such as Jacobs, Stevens and undefeated Staten Island southpaw Marcus Browne. He began his own professional career in May, knocking out Ralph Johnson in Queens, and faces Florida’s Will Williams (0-2) in a four-round bout Saturday night on the undercard of CES Boxing’s “Gold Standard” card.
Tickets are priced at $25.00, $50.00, $125.00 and $200.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The experience working with the likes of Stevens, Jacobs, etc., taught Marshall as much about life as a professional as it did how to handle himself inside the ring. Wise beyond his years, he’s come a long way from his days in his streets. Marshall’s fights are now in the ring, the only place he can achieve that goal of winning a world title.
“Boxing gave me discipline,” Marshall said. “You can’t party and box. I don’t understand people that do that. You can’t go to the gym and then go to the club. You can’t go hang out. It keeps me out of trouble. It keeps me humble. The more fights I had, I learned to curb my mouth. I would talk a lot of crap, but that’s just to hype me, myself, up, but then I’d talk crap to people, so boxing kept me humble.
“People thought I wouldn’t make it this far, so to already have one knockout in my first professional fight, it made me realize if I put my mind to it, I can do anything,” he continued. “I always had being a professional boxer in the back of my mind. My goal is just to be a world champion, just to prove people wrong, just to take it to the next step, by any means necessary.”
The 10-round main event of “Gold Standard,” promoted in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions, features Providence, R.I., native and former junior middleweight world champion Demetrius Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) against Argentinian Dario Fabian Pucheta (20-2, 11 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) International Titles, Andrade’s first fight in 16 months.
“Gold Standard” also includes the return of world-rated lightweight “Hammerin'” Hank Lundy (25-5-1, 12 KOs), No. 15 in the WBC, fighting for the WBC’s vacant Continental Americas Title in a 10-round bout against Nicaraguan vet Carlos Winston Velasquez (23-21-1, 13 KOs).
Saturday’s event will also be a showcase for New England boxing with undefeated Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (9-0, 7 KOs) and New Haven, Conn., featherweight Josh Crespo (4-2-3, 2 KOs) featured on the undercard in addition to the United States debut of unbeaten Canadian super middleweight Nathan Miller (6-0-1, 4 KOs).
For more information on “Gold Standard” visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and “like” the official CES Boxing Facebook fan page.