Frontproof Media's Future of Boxing Spotlight: Dustin "Godson" Arnold
By Hector Franco
December 1, 2016
This is the first entry in a series where we will be looking at up and coming fighters. These fighters have the potential of becoming world champions in the future. Frontproof Media spoke with Dustin “Godson” Arnold. He made his professional boxing debut on November 19th. We go into detail about how he got started in boxing and parts of his journey towards his professional debut.
HF: On the 19th of November in Haines City, Florida, I know you had your first professional fight against Evander Lamourt. He was 1 and 0. So, tell me about your experience in your first fight.
DA: I mean, it was a great experience. Nothing like the amateurs. The amateurs is just like so rushy, rushy. You weigh in and fight the same day and you may be dehydrated and all that, so this pro experience was great man. I got to cut weight, no problem. Got down to 136, then rehydrated, ate. Felt great the next day, man. Felt strong.
HF: I'm glad you also brought up cutting weight. That's actually something that's been brought up more with combat sports. What exactly for you is your process in making sure that you did it in a healthy way?
DA: I mean, just make sure even though I'm cutting weight, I still need to keep my body hydrated and still put the nutrition in my body to function, especially after I get off that scale. Replenish immediately. It wasn't as big of a deal that I thought it was going to be. I got a great team that guided me to do it correctly.
HF: Definitely, it's a team effort. People talk about boxing as an individual sport, and you know you're in the ring by yourself, but there's a lot of people that surround you and help you before you actually get into the ring. So, having said that, I know that this road to get to this first fight was not an easy road. Can you talk a little bit about the road that it took to get to this first fight?
DA: Yeah, so earlier this year, my team, we decided we got to get out of this amateur stuff because, for one, I've never had an amateur style. I was taught to fight like a pro and going from gym to gym and in there with great opposition.
So, we decided earlier this year, we've been trying to look for a good fight since, I'd say, April, around May. A lot of fights fell off, a lot of fights didn't go through because nobody knew me. So, we decided, "All right. We're waiting around. Let's go ahead and pick up an amateur fight while we're waiting."
My last amateur fight, I stopped the guy in the beginning of the third round. I stopped him and after that, we just decided, man, it's a wrap. We can't do this for four more weeks. We have to find a fight.
So, it's been ... I'm glad. We've been offered Evander three other times and he denied us. The first time that we were offered him, I wasn't ready, so we declined and he also declined as well, so we didn't feel bad about it. Second time, he declined. Third time, he declined and I guess ... I don't know, man. I don't know why he took it this time, but he took it and we were grateful for it. I actually fought him in the amateurs. Yeah, we fought at the Golden Gloves and he won by decision, but like I said, amateurs, it's a whole different sport. Night and day.
HF: Can you talk a little bit about the difference between fighting like a pro versus fighting like an amateur?
DA: Well, amateurs, they're so rushy, rushy. It's all about points, scoring. A lot of these guys are slapping and it brings a lot of noise and the judges are not going to be in their favor having a pro style. Somebody who likes to sit back, pick your punches. Clean, strong, straight punches and It's just not a sport for a pro fighter.
HF: I think it wasn't until this past Olympics where they stopped using that point system, where every time the white part of the glove touches the other fighter, it's a point. So, it's definitely a different sport there. The pros, the quality of the punches, I feel, matter a bit more. I think it was about a year ago, maybe more, that you guys were going up to New York. Was that for an amateur tournament?
DA: I forget which tournament it was. It wasn't in New York. It was close to New York, but I went up to New York. We ended up not going to the tournament and I ended up going to New York, going to different gyms, and just getting some good work.
I sparred with Jonathan Cepeda. I mean, he's a lot heavier than me. Monster power, but it was still a great experience. Training with Juan Guzman up there and I went to one of the Yonkers gyms. Trained with some good guys out there.
So, I mean, I might not be known on paper, but these gyms know my name. People that get in the ring with me, they know my power. It's just a matter of time where my name is going to be on paper and I can show for it in that aspect as well.
HF: I actually wanted to ask you because I wasn't able to see the fight live. So, how would you describe your style of boxing?
DA: I've heard people say I'm starting to look more and more like Canelo. I love Canelo. I love the way he fights, but I definitely would say I'm a puncher, I'm a boxer-puncher, and I definitely want to improve.
I want to be able to say I have the power like the Canelo's and the Keith Thurman’s, but I'm still young in the game, man. We're only fighting four rounds right now, so I've still got a long way to go, but I improve every day. I don't take any time off. Just keep moving forward, man.
HF: That's really important especially when you're starting off your career and you've got to make sure you stay busy. I'm assuming that the gym that you go to or the team you're a part of is Team Sweatbox, right?
DA: Yeah, that's my main gym as of now. It’s in Davie, FL.
HF: Can you talk about the mentors on your team?
DA: I have a wonderful team, man, and I have an amazing trainer. He spends a lot of time with me working on this war machine to get me ready for battle. I mean, we spend a lot of hours together. I got to give a lot of credit to my trainer, Jeff Poritz. He believed in me when nobody else did. Then my second trainer would be Javiel Centeno and he's a great guy too, man. My team is solid. We're one person. Maybe one guy's thinking about this side of training, the other guy's thinking about the other side. Whoever slacks, the other guy picks up always. It's good to have more than one person in your camp. Then my sparring partners, man. I get great sparring, man. A lot of undefeated prospects coming up in the game right now. So, I'm blessed, man.
HF: The team aspect is definitely underrated in this sport. Let me ask you, so for someone not in the sport or someone who doesn't do it, who observes the sport from the outside, what is a typical day of training for Dustin Arnold like? What do you do as a routine every day?
DA: I get up, make sure I'm hydrated and drink my water. Go put in about four or five miles. Just eat well and get in the gym either later on that night or vice versa. Maybe I go to the gym in the morning and run at night. Train about six days a week. Maybe take one day off to recover. Sometimes if I've got a hard camp, I take a couple more days off to recover. Recovering is very important as well.
HF: It's something that's undervalued, I think, as well. In just athletics period, but moving forward here. I kind of wanted to get the middle, beginning, and end. How long have you been boxing?
DA: I started boxing; I'm going to have to say going on six years now, man. I may have started late, what a lot of people say, but I've been fighting all my life, so when it comes to the getting prepared and the fear and all that, it's not a problem.
I started in St. Petersburg, Florida. We actually had to move up there my son was diagnosed with Leukemia and ended up staying out there for a year. Just being out there in the hospital every day, I just had to ... I needed an outlet.
So I started doing some research about some boxing gyms and came across Dan Birmingham's gym. I just went in there and the first person I met was Keith Thurman. It's funny because I didn't know who he was or even who he was about to become, you know.
Very humble dude, man. Great guy. He welcomed me in and we got to talk. He told me the Golden Gloves was three months away and if I really wanted this, then I should be ready by then. He was like, "Come back tomorrow with your gloves," and I was like, "Shoot, I got gloves in the trunk right now," so I started that day.
Three months later, my first fight was in the Golden Gloves and I made it to the finals and lost by decision. But ever since then, I fell in love with the sport and stayed dedicated to it. That's pretty much how I started. A lot people say it like turned my life around because before boxing before my son got sick, I was in all types of messes.
HF: Looking back at the time, would you say that was really your inspiration of what really got you into boxing? It's kind of what propelled you to where you are now.
DA: Oh, most definitely because I see my son, watching him go through what he was going through and seeing how much of a fighter he was, definitely inspired me to stay in it. I need to try to make something out of this for my family.
HF: I wanted to ask you about that. How important is family to you and how that connects your family with the sport?
DA: Oh, man, family is everything. God first, family, then boxing in that order. Family's everything. I do everything for my family and the older I get, the wiser I am. I'm just real in touch with them right now. Really in touch with myself. My mind, body, and soul are all lined up right now and I know I'm destined for greatness.
HF: You don't want to look too much forward, but at the end of all of this, what is your ultimate goal within the sport of boxing?
DA: Well, my ultimate goal is to achieve something great, be called a world champion one day. To retire safe, with my health, with my mind. Just really make an impact here and let my name be known out there. Inspire the young ones, especially the kids. Definitely want to inspire them too, so they can grow up knowing that anything's possible when you put your mind to it.
HF: Thank you so much for giving us this interview today. Thank you brother, I appreciate it. I’ll talk to you soon.
(Featured Photo: Alan Rolette/RiverHorse Photography)