Boxing eventually won over Haven Brady Jr.’s heart
Haven Brady Jr. would often look at himself in the mirror and hope. He would wake up the next day, and the day after that, and still hope. Nothing. No resolutions. No movement.
He was the pintsized Allen Iverson of Albany, Georgia, weaving through a maze of outstretched arms, hands and legs all designed to stop him on a basketball court.
There was just one glaring problem—Brady was short. Real short. He also had an answer as to why he would never be “The Answer,” Brady’s all-time favorite basketball player—boxing.
Something had to give way in his dual passions.
The 5-foot-6 Brady came to a conclusion his junior year of high school that he wouldn’t be another Iverson in the NBA, but he could be another Floyd Mayweather.
Out went basketball. In came boxing.
“It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve made in my life, giving up basketball,” said the undefeated 19-year-old featherweight. “I weighed the pros and cons, and what would be better for me later in life, with my height and the way everything was going.”
It proved to be a wise choice.
Brady (2-0, 2 knockouts) will be featured this Saturday on the undercard of the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos world lightweight championship fight from Miami’s loanDepot Park on Triller Fight Club via FITE mobile and Smart TV apps (12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET/).
Brady, who is trained by Roshawn and Otha Jones, Charles Conwell’s trainers, is promoted by Top Rank and managed by David McWater’s Split-T Management. His distinguished amateur past includes garnering a gold medal at the 2019 Junior National Olympics.
The next step in his progression will be facing Manuel “Gansito” Lara, (2-6), of Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, in a four-rounder.
Brady is a boxer-puncher with knockout power. He stopped his first two opponents stopped his first two opponents, most recently knocking out Michael Land (KO 2) on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas.
Because of the pandemic, Brady had to fight in the Top Rank Vegas bubble. Now with COVID-19 restrictions lifted, this will mark the first time Brady will fight before a crowd as a pro.
“I’m looking forward to fighting before a live audience and hearing the crowd react,” said Brady, who earned an associate degree in business management at Albany Technical College with a 3.5 GPA, before transferring over to Clark Atlanta last fall. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity, being on this card.
“I have a lot of family and friends coming down and I want to put on a devastating performance.”
Also featured on the undercard will be for The Ring womens’ super middleweight and undisputed 168-pound world championship between WBO/WBC titlist Franchon “The Heavy Hitting Diva” Crews-Dezurn, (7-1, 2 KOs) and WBA/IBF title holder Elin Cederroos, (8-0, 4 KO) over ten rounds. Cederroos is rated No. 1 by The Ring and Crews-Dezurn is No. 2. The winner brings home The Ring Magazine title belt.
The chief undercard fight will feature undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell (14-0, 11 knockouts) taking on southpaw Mark ‘The Bazooka’ DeLuca (27-2, 15 KOs), of Whitman, MA, in a 10-round junior middleweight clash.
Also on the undercard, a crossroad fight between middleweight division two-time world title challenger Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe Jr., (24-3, 6 KOs), of Rochester, NY against Juan “La Amenaza” De Angel, (22-13-1, 20 KOs), of Barranquilla, Colombia in a 10-round bout.
Monroe is currently riding a three-fight win streak.
Undefeated heavyweight Zhilel “Bang Bang” Zhang, (21-0-1, 17 KOs), of Zhouhou, China, battles upset-minded veteran Daniel “The Mountain” Martz, (20-9-1, 17 KOs), of Clarksburg, WV in a 10-rounder.
Promising 19-year-old junior welterweight Aaron “The Alien King” Aponte, (3-0, 1 KOs), will face fellow undefeated prospect Gerardo Contreras Gonzalez, (2-0, 1 KO), of San Diego, CA, in a four-rounder.
In a battle of junior middleweight southpaws, Ray “The New Ray” Robinson, (24-3-2, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA, will face Ramal Amanov, (16-3, 5 KOs), of Ganja, Azerbaijan, in an eight-rounder.
Undefeated junior middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili, (7-0, 5 KOs), of Gori, Georgia (country), will see action in against an opponent to be determined in a scheduled six-rounder.
In a four-round welterweight bout, New York City’s Arnold Gonzalez, (6-0, 2 KOs) fights Gabriel Gutierrez, (7-9, 5 KOs), of El Paso, TX. In a 10-round WBA heavyweight title eliminator, Las Vegas’ Michael “The Bounty” Hunter II, (19-1-1, 3 KOs), will battle Michael “White Delight” Wilson, (21-1, 10 KOs), of Medford, OR. Hunter is currently ranked No. 7 by The Ring.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.