Harrison claims USBA title
Thomas Stone graduate makes quick work of Tom LaManna
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.