Thursday, June 13, 2024  |


Michael Dutchover is ready for his primetime homecoming Friday night on ShoBox

Danny Zamora (left) and lightweight Michael Dutchover
Fighters Network

Michael Dutchover is ready for the fight. But first, the smooth, 21-year-old undefeated lightweight from West Texas has another battle to wage before he steps through the ropes in his first national-TV primetime main event—that’s to get himself under control.

Dutchover (13-0, 10 knockouts) will be facing the dangerous Thomas Mattice (14-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight main event Friday night (10:30PM ET/PT) on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation from the La Hacienda Event Center, in Midland, Texas.

Before Dutchover gets into that red-hot crucible and under those bright lights, he’ll be waging war against a tsunami of internal emotions fighting before his hometown crowd. They expect a show. Dutchover wants to supply it, though he knows he has to stay contained and within himself if he’s going to succeed. Dutchover, who’s 5-foot-7½, has seen too many homecomings blow up when the hometown fighter emotionally implodes in the ring and exposes themselves when trying too hard to stop their opponent.

“I’ve prepared for that in the weeks leading up to the fight, because I know there will be a ton of emotions going on,” admitted Dutchover, who will be wearing a Texas Longhorns No. 32 jersey in honor of former Midland-Lee High School star, former Texas star and former Chicago Bear running back Cedric Benson, who was killed with a friend in a motorcycle accident on August 17, 2019.” I have to focus on my game plan and my game plan is in the right. It doesn’t matter where that ring is, it could be Las Vegas, New York, Dallas, or here in my hometown in Midland, the ring is really my home.

“That’s how I see it. Everything is still a learning experience for me, and this has been one of my biggest tests. My friends and family know. It’s why my cell phone is off again and I’m letting other people handle ticket requests and stuff like that. I carry the same attitude into every fight. Wherever the ring is, that’s my home. I know that attitude isn’t going to be tested as much as it will this fight.

“My mind is focused. I am ready and I can’t wait.”

The 5-foot-9 Mattice, 29, holds a little bit of infamy on ShoBox. It was Mattice who was awarded a highly controversial eight-round split-decision in July 2018 in Iowa over Zhora Hamazaryan, who dropped Mattice in the second round of that fight. Showtime Hall of Fame broadcasters Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood called it one of the worst decisions they’ve ever seen on ShoBox.

Mattice is durable and Dutchover calls him the best opposition he’s faced in his young career.

“I’m prepared for a 10-round fight, but I also want to make a statement with this fight,” Dutchover said. “I think it is right to say that despite coming home, I have to forget that I’m in Midland. I’m looking at this fight as a business trip. It’s my job to take care of that business first. Then, I can celebrate with my family afterward.

“I’m not taking this guy lightly. I know what he can do. He doesn’t like to bang much. I’ll force my will on him to break his will from the very first bell to the last bell. But I will be celebrating afterward.

“I can’t wait.”