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Success naturally brings pressure, but 19-year-old WBC youth welterweight champion Dusty Hernandez-Harrison is handling it all in stride.
Hernandez-Harrison will look for more success tonight when he is scheduled to fight 29-year-old Tim Witherspoon Jr. from Philadelphia.
The Thomas Stone High School graduate, currently 19-0 with 11 knockouts, is not only fighting Witherspoon Jr. (10-3-1, 2 KOs), the son of two-time World Heavyweight Champion Tim Witherspoon Sr., but it’s his first live fight, and it’s going to be televised at 9 tonight on ESPN2 from the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, N.J., as part of the TV network’s Friday Night Fights.
The Harrison camp wanted to go 10 rounds, but the boxing association scheduled eight.
Hernandez-Harrison’s last fight was a first round knockout against Marlon Lewis on Nov. 22. Lewis went down just 2 minutes 20 seconds into the fight.
Jeff Fried, boxing promoter for All-In Entertainment and agent to the Harrison family, said things are going well.
“Dusty is handling it all quite well, in all respects,” Fried said. “While there is substantial attention surrounding Dusty’s success in the ring and what he represents to Washington, D.C., sports, he understands that he must stay singularly focused on Friday, and the rest will follow.”
In talking about his fight tonight, Hernandez-Harrison said in a recent interview with FIGHTHYPE.com that his plan is to wear down Witherspoon Jr. and get him in the later rounds.
“I’m in shape. I’m prepared to go eight rounds,” Hernandez-Harrison said in the interview. “He’s never been eight before. He’s never been passed six. I just did that 10 rounds in New York. I’ll use that to my advantage. I think I’ll get him in the late rounds.”
Hernandez-Harrison said the one thing he needs to counter is Witherspoon Jr.’s overhand right.
“He loves the overhand right. He throws it a lot,” Hernandez-Harrison said in the interview.
He said that the first thing he wants to do is win, and he always keeps his fans in the forefront of his mind.
“I think my fights are exciting,” Hernandez-Harrison said in the interview. “I want another eight fights, but 10 rounds of those, we’ll see. It’s going to be hard.”
Witherspoon Jr.’s last fight was June 27, 2013, defeating Josh Beeman in a four-round unanimous decision. He is trained by his father and his uncle, Saleem Witherspoon.
Witherspoon Jr. said the only thing he knew about Hernandez-Harrison really was his record.
“I knew he had a lot of backing behind him to get him to this point. That’s about all,” Witherspoon Jr. said.
Witherspoon Jr. said he’s been sparring with many boxers around Philadelphia.
“One of my main sparring partners is Greg Jackson, a very good up-and-coming pro,” Witherspoon Jr. said. “I’m not going to go into what I need to do to win this fight. We have a game plan and are very prepared to execute it.”
He added, “This is my first eight-rounder, which doesn’t concern me. My training has prepared me to go 12 [rounds] if I need to.”
It’s also Witherspoon’s first live televised fight. He said he’s really looking forward to it. The two boxers weighed in yesterday. The results were too late for inclusion into this edition.
“I have fans all around the world since I have fought out of the country a few times, and they are contacting me saying they will be watching and tuning in,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to performing for everyone.”
Hernandez-Harrison said he is excited to get back to Washington, D.C., for another fight. That might happen in the near future.
“I’m also asking Jeff to come back to D.C. for a fight, but he likes to focus on just one at a time,” Hernandez-Harrison said on FIGHTHYPE.com.