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Shawn Porter with his Father
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Shawn Porter with his Father
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Shawn Porter with his Father
And, if he keeps up his record as an undefeated boxing champ, the Stow-Munroe Falls High School grad might do just that.
Porter won 13 titles by age 20, including 2007 National and World Golden Gloves Champion. He also served as an alternate on the U.S. Boxing team during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing — a controversial decision within the boxing world since Porter had defeated several of the U.S. team members in amateur bouts.
Today, Porter is the North American Boxing Federation’s Welterweight Champion, winning the title Oct. 15, 2010 with a ninth-round TKO of Hector Munoz. And when he’s not boxing, he’s talking about boxing — making appearances at a summer camp sponsored by the Butch Reynolds Care for Kids Foundation (Reynolds is an Akronite and U.S. Olympian) and at a youth boxing clinic at the Akron General Medical Center’s Wellness Center in Stow.
Hometown boy does good? It has a nice ring to it — and everyone knows Northeast Ohio is aching for a new sports hero — but Porter wants more. He wants a world championship belt. And with Ken Porter in his corner as his dad, coach, manager and promoter, he’s well on his way.
Why did you decide to turn pro, instead of training another four years to try out again for the U.S. Olympic boxing team?
SP: I was a professional boxer boxing in the amateur program. I’m a prototypical boxer. So, after my fun in Beijing, it was time to move on!
What’s the most challenging part about having your dad also be your coach?
SP: It gets a little tough sometimes because he expects me to be professional all the time, and I think it’s only human for me to want to act my age at times and do things like hang with my friends or have a rib or two. We work hard at what we do, and he’s learning that I’m going to want to play a video game or stay out late from time-to-time. And I’m learning that even though I’m young, I’m a professional athlete, and I have to handle the responsibility that comes with it.
When you turned 23 last year, the Stow Applebee’s hosted your birthday party and replaced a wall of LeBron James memorabilia with your signed boxing gloves, shorts and tank top from the Olympics. How did that feel?
SP: That was great! I still think it’s nuts! It was a fun night, and it was great to be able to share it with my family and the Stow community. I can’t help but laugh a little when I think about replacing such a great superstar in a public restaurant — makes me kind of feel like a superstar.
Rocky drank raw eggs before his fights. What’s your favorite pre-fight meal?
SP: I go Italian after every weigh-in. Lasagna, a piece of grilled chicken breast, broccoli and a baked potato are what I look forward to after weeks of preparation and dieting.
Which famous boxer most influenced your style?
SP: I most identify with Marvelous Marvin Hagler. I’m a boxer with a lot of quickness and speed, but I can also punch hard and I’m aggressive. Hagler did the same. He used as much movement as I do, but he applied the pressure with good boxing and hard punching. I’ve always felt like our styles were similar.
A rumor says a deal is in the works for you to fight at the UA’s James A. Rhodes Arena in April, and that it’s expected to be televised. What kind of pressure comes with boxing in your hometown?
SP: I really wouldn’t say there’s pressure. More so, distractions. Family and friends reaching out to you can take away the focus required to be ready for a professional fight. So this time around, unlike my first fight back home at CSU [a win on Feb. 19, 2010], I’m going to make sure there are no distractions. I’m going to tell everyone to lose my number and find it after the fight. LOL.
In high school, you were a star running back and broke the school rushing record previously held by NFL legend Larry Csonka. So why not pursue football?
SP: My favorite part of football can also be the worst part. I loved playing on a ‘team.’ A team gives you great friends and support. But at the same time, you have to rely on 10 other individuals to work as hard as you work, and play as hard as you play. So while I was one of the best players on the team and broke records, I hated to lose! I was great at both sports, but at the end of the day, I can control what goes on in the ring — no one to rely on but myself.
If you weren’t a boxer, what would you pursue?
SP: I would have been a college football player. I have a strong desire to teach and reach out to youth. One goal I have is to get a bachelor’s degree in education. Someday I’ll be sitting at a desk, teaching high school students. I’m not sure which subject yet.
When your Dec. 17, 2010 fight was canceled because they couldn’t find an opponent, you played in a celebrity basketball charity game instead. What was that like?
SP: I was fortunate enough to play with some great world-class athletes, actors and comedians: Coco Crisp (Major League center fielder), Maurice Greene (Olympic track and field sprinter), DeRay Davis (comedian and actor) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (five-division world champion boxer) to name a few. I was a little star struck. … Floyd did a pretty good job on the court, scoring 25 points. He carried my team, and I pitched in with a few assists.
Now that you’re the welterweight champ, what’s your next goal?
SP: Right now, I have two ‘lower’ titles — North American Boxing Federation’s Junior Middleweight Champion and Welterweight Champion. They’re basically the step below the world title. So, while all of my family and friends are proud of the things I’ve done, my dad and I aren’t quite satisfied yet. Winning a world championship is a rare and unbelievable accomplishment — and I’m looking forward to the night I have the satisfaction of holding a world championship belt.
What does winning mean to you?
SP: Winning is everything! My team understands that we don’t have a career if we don’t win. … Boxing is sort of like the NFL playoffs: You lose, and you’re done. We have our eyes set on a world championship belt, and nothing less. So I have to win — case closed. And yeah, there’s no pressure. LOL!
/ Writer Abby Cymerman is assistant editor of akronlife magazine. You can reach her at email@example.com.
E-mail them to editor Georgina K. Carson at firstname.lastname@example.org.