Har­ri­son claims USBA ti­tle

Thomas Stone grad­u­ate makes quick work of Tom LaManna

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

In the fi­nal weeks lead­ing up to his lat­est bout against Tom LaManna at the 2300 Arena in Philadel­phia, Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate Dusty Her­nan­dez-Har­ri­son ad­mit­ted he could sim­ply fo­cus on train­ing and not worry about watch­ing film of his op­po­nent.

Har­ri­son and LaManna have been well-ac­quainted through box­ing cir­cles over the last decade and their fa­mil­iar­ity with one an­other prompted Har­ri­son to fo­cus on his con­di­tion­ing and hon­ing his punch­ing skills. On Sept. 15, four months af­ter he set­tled for a draw against Mike Dal­las Jr., Har­ri­son scored a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over LaManna to claim the va­cant USBA wel­ter weight ti­tle.

“In the last cou­ple of weeks, I was able to just fo­cus on things that I needed to do to get bet­ter,” said Har­ri­son, who im­proved to 30-0-1 with the vic­tory. “I’ve known Tommy since we were just start­ing out and I know how he fights and he knows me. I didn’t watch any film of his fights be­cause we’re just so fa­mil­iar with each other’s style.”

Four months ear­lier in his re­turn home to the D.C. Ar­mory — Har­ri­son was born in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — Har­ri­son suf­fered the only blem­ish on his other­wise per­fect record. Three weeks af­ter help­ing Canelo Al­varez pre­pare for his light mid­dleweight bout against Amir Khan, a fight Al­varez won, Har­ri­son fought Dal­las to a 10-round draw.

“Lead­ing up to that fight I re­ally wanted to help Canelo get ready for his fight against Khan,” Har­ri­son said. “When Canelo won that fight to re­tain the light mid­dleweight ti­tle, I felt like I was part of that vic­tory. I def­i­nitely was not at my best against Dal­las. He fought a good fight and it was close, so I can’t be up­set about the draw.”

In fact, Har­ri­son re­marked that he put that de­ci­sion be­hind him and be­gan pre­par­ing for LaManna. In the mo­ments af­ter his bout last week in Philadel­phia, Har­ri­son at­ten­tively lis­tened to the pub­lic ad­dress an­nouncer re­veal the three judges score­cards, know­ing that the first one would likely mir­ror the other two.

“When they an­nounced that the first judge scored the first 98-92, I knew it was go­ing my way be­cause I knew that I had won more than two rounds,” Har­ri­son said. “I was not wor­ried about the scor­ing. I had faith in the judges to make the right de­ci­sion. I thought Tommy fought re­ally well. He was a tough op­po­nent.”

With the unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, Har­ri­son not only gar­nered the va­cant USBA wel­ter­weight ti­tle, he also vaulted into the top 15 ac­cord­ing to the lat­est rank­ings pro­vided by the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion. It made the week­end dou­bly re­ward­ing for Har­ri­son, who now awaits his up­com­ing fight.

“Not only did I get the USBA wel­ter­weight ti­tle, I also got ranked,” Har­ri­son said. “That was re­ally im­por­tant. The ti­tle’s great and the rank­ing will cer­tainly help me get more recog­ni­tion from pro­mot­ers. I’m just hop­ing to get a shot at a big ti­tle fight some­time next year.”

Har­ri­son had won his first 29 fights out­right, in­clud­ing 16 by knock­out, be­fore set­tling for a draw against Dal­las. Af­ter nearly 200 am­a­teur bouts he made his pro­fes­sional de­but on June 11, 2011, win­ning a four-round bout via unan­i­mous de­ci­sion. Other than his draw with Dal­las, Har­ri­son has won all of his fights by ei­ther knock­out or unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

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