Bantamweights Beware: Detroit’s Hottest Boxing Prospect is on the Rise

In recent years, the city of Detroit has experienced a drought in the production of world championship caliber boxers. A city once steeped in boxing history has reduced itself to an occasional shooting star without producing any real fireworks. But much like the city itself is experiencing a renaissance, so is the local boxing scene.

Jarico O’Quinn intends to be the torchbearer.

Hailing from Detroit’s west side and fighting out of Dynamic Boxing Club in Westland, O’Quinn amassed an impressive amateur career before turning pro. He joined Dynamic in 2009 at 14-years-old, and almost immediately began collecting hardware. During his time as an amateur,O’Quinn won the Junior Olympic National Title, the PAL National Title, the Youth Nationals, the USA Elite (no headgear) National Title, the Pikes Peak International Championships, the James Toney Invitational Tournament, and was runner-up at the National Golden Gloves tournament.

That list fails to include multiple local and regional tournaments.

With an amateur record of 129-19 and little left to conquer,O’Quinn turned pro. Under the tutelage of trainers Chad Jaquillard and Paul Soucy, he currently has a professional record of 7-0 (5 KO’s). His next fight is Friday, Aug. 4 at the MGM Grand Detroit Event Center at 8pm. The fight is promoted by former world title challenger Dmitriy Salita. Tickets are still available for the fight on Aug. 4 through www.ticketmaster.com, and the televised portion of the event will be shown on Showtime.

I sat down with O’Quinn to discuss his boxing career and what his plans are for the future.

Ray Vipond: How has your preparation changed as a pro compared to when you were an amateur?

Jarico O’Quinn: I just go harder; there’s more intensity on everything. I do more rounds. I take it more seriously mentally, more running, and a little bit more strength and conditioning.

RV: Have you traveled to any training camps or sparred with any top ranked fighters since you turned pro?

JO: I went down to Robert Easter’s training camp, and I got some good work with Tyler McCreary. He’s making some noise in his division (Super Featherweight), and I got some good work in with James Smith. Nikolai Potapov. I got some good work with him, too, and then I was just recently getting some good work with another one of Salita’s guys, he’s 16-0 and he’s the TV opener for on August fourth.

RV: What attributes do you think sets you apart from other top contenders in the Bantamweight division?

JO: I got good speed. I got decent power, and my ability to adapt to any situation that I’m in the ring with. It might take me a round or two, but I’m going to make my adjustments. I’m going to adapt, and I’m going to get the job done.

RV: So you would say you have a very high ring IQ?

JO: Yes, I got a good boxing IQ.

RV: Are there any Bantamweights in the top-ten in particular that you are gunning for?

JO: Man, I want them all. Whoever you are in the top-ten, I want you. I want everybody.

RV: What would bringing home a world title mean to you?

JO: It wouldn’t just mean everything to me; it would mean everything for the city because who was the last guy to do it in recent time besides K9 (Cornelius Bundrage)? It would just mean everything for the city because we haven’t had no true champions. No real, true, legendary PPV champions since Floyd Mayweather and Tommy Hearns.

RV: Do you think fighters like Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez have done a lot to put the spotlight back on the lower weight classes?

JO: Yeah. but no disrespect to Chocolatito, but I’ll stop him. I would beat Chocolatito, and I don’t see nothing special about him. He’s straight up and down, no special effects, you know? He’s one dimensional. But I’m glad that those little guys are making noise so that I can come through like a salt truck and take all their ice away.

RV: Any upcoming televised fights after the fight on August 4th?

JO: There may be another fight at the Masonic Temple, an eight-round tune-up for TV. Then we’re looking at TV, hopefully.

RV: How did you get hooked up with Dmitriy?

JO: Actually, Salita. I guess he was hearing about me, and my manager and him are good friends. They made some calls and set up some sparring with one of Salita’s guys. These were Salita’s words, he said “he was not looking to sign no more Bantamweights, no more smaller guys.” But, I got tremendous talent and he couldn’t pass it up. So that means a lot.

RV: Can I get your pick for the GGG vs. Canelo fight?

JO: GGG is a bigger guy, but I want Canelo to win. I’m not a fan of GGG, and I’m going with Canelo.

As hard as O’Quinn works inside the ring, I was just as impressed to learn how hard he works outside of it as well. He is currently a construction worker, logging in well over forty-hours per week during the day while training full-time at night. The only way to maintain such a rigorous schedule is through an immense amount of self-discipline and dedication, whichO’Quinn has in spades. He has all the necessary attributes to win a world championship, and I encourage all local sports fans to support him on his journey to the top.

Tickets are still available for the fight on Aug. 4 through www.ticketmaster.com, and the televised portion of the event will be shown on Showtime. You can followO’Quinn’s career through his fighter profile at http://boxrec.com/boxer/717382.

Follow Ray Vipond on Twitter @akaOliverTwist

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