Dusty Hernandez-Harrison ready for ‘Throne Boxing’ debut
With the current guard of boxing’s elite moving ever so closely to seeing the credits roll on their careers, the sport is desperately looking for new blood.
Enter Arturo “Dusty” Hernandez-Harrison.
At the tender age of 20, Hernandez-Harrison (24-0, 12 knockouts) is already entering his fourth year as a professional. In what will be the biggest moment of his career to date, “The Beltway Boricua” will headline Jay Z’s first foray into boxing promotions as Roc Nation Sports’ “Throne Boxing” debuts from Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9. The unbeaten product from Washington D.C. will square off with Tommy Rainone in what will likely be an audition to see if Hernandez-Harrison is ready to take his next step into boxing relevance. The fight will be televised on Fox Sports 1 in the U.S.
Hernandez-Harrison, who says that he’s been throwing combinations ever since he could walk, will be facing a slick boxer who is 14 years his senior. And after ESPN’s Teddy Atlas criticized the way Hernandez-Harrison has been brought along during a “Friday Night Fights” broadcast last year, Rainone appears to be exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes a proper litmus test to see where the youngster is at.
“I didn’t really take it personal,” Hernandez-Harrison explained to RingTV.com of Atlas’ criticism.
His father and trainer, Buddy Harrison, had some rather unflattering words for Atlas but Hernandez-Harrison doesn’t share his father’s frustration. However, he adds that people shouldn’t be so critical of his progression.
“A lot of people only look at my record and see that there are fighters who are 24-0 who are fighting for world titles,” he said. “I think what people should be looking at is how many years I’ve been pro and my age rather than how many fights I’ve had. But I chose this so I’ll take the criticism and we’re stepping it up now.”
Hernandez-Harrison knows what he is up against with Rainone: a durable boxer who is also difficult to hit. Although he’s coming in as the favorite, he doesn’t expect Rainone to lay down for him.
“He’s a southpaw who doesn’t really get caught with many clean shots,” the 20 year old said. “That’s why he always goes the distance. I’m going to be prepared no matter what. I’m not going in there expecting the knockout.”
With distinct height and reach advantages, Hernandez-Harrison expects to put Rainone behind his long jab. But what he doesn’t necessarily see as an advantage is the fact that he’s 14 years younger than his opponent.
“I don’t know if there are that many advantages being younger but I do know that I have some other advantages,” he said. “His record is 22-5 and I’m 24-0. So, when I get into the ring, I don’t know how to lose. He thinks he can show me things I’ve never seen before but he’s never fought anybody that is like me. He likes to say he’s my best opponent, but I’m his best opponent. Just because he was comfortable going 10 rounds with Carl McNickles, who was 8-5, doesn’t mean he’s going to be comfortable going 10 rounds with me.”
Should he get past Rainone, Hernandez-Harrison plans to see greater challenges ahead of him for 2015.
“I want to fight just as many times this year as I did last year,” he said, as a follow up to his 2014 campaign that saw him go 5-0 with 2 KOs. “Obviously the quality of opponents can’t go backwards so the fights will be tougher.”
Atlas and the rest of Hernandez-Harrison’s detractors will be happy to hear that.