Frontproof Media's Future of Boxing Series: De'Von Abraham
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: February 05, 2018
Interview conducted on December 10, 2017
Frontproof Media presents the next installment in the Future of Boxing series. This is a series where FrontProof Media will be putting the spotlight on the future of the sport of boxing. De'Von Abraham (2-0, 0 KOs) fights out of King's Boxing Gym in Oakland, California. Abraham fights in the featherweight (126) and super featherweight (130) divisions and is one of the many rising prospects coming out of California. Abraham will have his third professional bout on February 15th at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California against Guadalupe Arroyo.
HF: I understand that you are originally from Detroit, but you relocated to southern California. Can you talk to me a little bit about, um, why you made the transition from Detroit to Southern California?
DA: Well, I am from Orange County. I grew up in Irvine, California. But my family is from Detroit. Then I went to school in the Bay Area and then that is why I am based out of the Bay Are right now for boxing.
HF: Can you talk a little bit about what it is like to fight and to be a fighter out of the Bay Area?
DA: Well, Andre Ward came from the same gym as me. He started at the same gym. Nonito Donaire started there, and it just proves to me that it is possible. It is always attainable to fight at that level. At the beginning, I was just fighting. I did not know about amateur boxing growing up. And then my coach told me to fight, and I was winning everything. And, I won many tournaments, and it was a big deal. Everyone was making a bigger deal out of it than me. I was just fighting.
I grew up idolizing Roy Jones Jr. as a professional. So, I did not know about amateur boxing, the Golden Gloves and all of that. I had heard of it, of course, I'd heard about all of it boxing. But that was not a goal of mine.
HF: I wanted to talk to you a little bit about your fighting style. I know you just mentioned Roy Jones Jr. is one of your favorite fighters. You know I spoke to Lukey before you came on and he told me that your style is sort of like Prince Naseem Hamed. Can you talk a little bit about your style inside the ring?
DA: I am very unorthodox. When I fight people, it is hard for them to get a read on me because I am not very up and down like most boxers. I was out-pointing everyone with an amateur style, and then my trainer said that we have to make a statement, that we have to knock people out. Later I became a lot more aggressive, almost to like a Shawn Porter type of style, in a way. So, that is the complete opposite. So I know how to fight both ways. But I am very unorthodox, I am slick, and I can punch, that is why they say, like Naseem Hamed, I am very unorthodox.
HF: What exactly got you into boxing?
DA: Well, my mother took me to a boxing gym when I was in the third grade. She was boxing before me. My first sport was soccer. So, I was a really good soccer player. I think I was a better soccer player naturally than I am a boxer. But, I didn't put the work into soccer. I didn't because it came easy to me. My team won a state championship a couple of years in a row.
HF: What is a typical day of training, like for you?
DA: I put in 40 hours a week. I am a full-time fighter. This is my job. I wake up and then I do my road work. And then I do my boxing work, like my skill work, in the morning from like an hour and a half to two hours. Then, I go home, I eat, I rest, and then I go to strength and conditioning. I go through that for like an hour and a half; I have a good strength and conditioning coach that works with a lot of professional athletes. Then I go home and relax again. I go back to the gym for sparring. We have some really good amateurs at my gym. Lastly, I go home and then to run; then I call it a day.
Wash, rinse and repeat. Do that about every day, five days a week.
HF: What would you say is one of the most difficult things about being a fighter?
DA: The diet, I like to eat. I am a fat boy; I like to eat. I won a couple of national tournaments and stuff. So boxing kind of came easy to me, but the diet I can get in trouble. My strength and conditioning coach has me on a diet and I follow it now. And I got the diet down so it should be smooth sailing now.
HF: What are some of your favorite foods to eat, maybe after a fight? What are some of the things that we would see you going out to eat?
DA: I like Carne Asada Fries. After I fought my first two pro fights, I went straight to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. I don't drink; I don't smoke of course. Food is my thing. That is my vice; it is food.
HF: Is southern California the hub of combat sports currently?
DA: I think boxing is global. I had my camps in Detroit for nationals last year, and it is a different, different type of fighters out there. Most of the fighters are black like me, and they are slicker. In the bay area and southern California, there's a lot more Mexicans, that are more aggressive and they come forward and throw many punches. So, I like to get all of the looks I can get.
HF: Do you feel like that is an advantage that you might have? That you go back to Detroit and then train in California as well?
DA: Yeah, I think it is an advantage. I was about to go to Detroit for this fight camp. But it just didn't make sense; it was not convenient.
HF: Switching gears here. Were you able to catch the Vasyl Lomachenko, Guillermo Rigondeaux fight?
DA: I did it was very disappointing.
HF: What are some of your thoughts about the fight and how it went?
DA: Well, I wanted Rigondeaux to win. But I was telling anyone that would listen that Lomachenko would win. They said that size wasn't a big factor. When Rigondeaux would punch him, and he could not hurt him and move him, and it was just all bad. He had no chance; he didn't even have a punchers chance. And then, Lomachenko is special. I do think that Mikey Garcia knocks him out still. Garcia can punch. I do think he knocks him out.
HF: What about Mikey Garcia stylistically that leads you to believe he would be able to knock out Lomachenko?
DA: I don't think Lomachenko can hurt Mikey Garcia. Mikey Garcia is a big boy. I have run into him a couple of times. I went to his gym in Oxnard. He is pretty big. Lomachenko is not the biggest of punchers.
HF: In coming to a close here, what is your goal in professional boxing?
DA: Multi-weight world champion- that is the goal. Now I am at 126, and I could see myself finishing at 147. I am really big for 126, and I am a big puncher. I was a big puncher in the amateurs. And from my two professional fights, I could see that my power is just a little too much. It forces me to be super unorthodox and do stuff that I probably shouldn't do. I have got to get better. I think I am about 30-35% of the fighter that I have the potential to be. My last fight, I went up a weight class, I fought at 130. I still knocked him out when I wanted. The first fight I knocked my opponent out in 37 seconds, and I wanted to carry him.
HF: You said you are going to start at featherweight and move all the way up to welterweight. The featherweight division right now is one of the more competitive weight classes in the sport. By the time you make it up to getting a title shot, it could look different but as of right now, who do you think is the best in your division?
DA: I think, no question, the best featherweight right now is Gary Russell. I think he is the best featherweight right now. And, I don't even think that is debatable. Oscar Valdez is strong, but I don't think he could beat Gary Russell. The guy in the U.K., Lee Selby I don't think he could beat Oscar Valdez or Gary Russell. Who else do we have at 126?
HF: Leo Santa Cruz.
DA: Leo Santa Cruz. He is pretty good. I think Gary Russell is too fast for him. Carl Frampton, Gary Russell beats him. I like Leo Santa Cruz too. There is a lot of competition in the featherweight division.
HF: Is there anything you want to plug, any social media? Anything you have got that people can contact you? Go ahead and let the people know.
DA: You can follow me, you know on Instagram at @d_unorthodox_1. I fight out at Kings Gym in Oakland. I am definitely on my way. I am going to be very active next year, already set in stone. And I will be fighting February 15th at the Hanger in Costa Mesa.
HF: It sounds like 2018 is going to be a bigger year for you than 2017?
DA: Every year's got to be bigger and better. I am trying just to progress. You know, I just want to get better every day. So, it definitely was a good year and next year will be even better, I promise.
(Feature Photo: Team De'Von Abraham)