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Darnell Boone: Boxing, Family, Tough Fights & More…

DarnellandSonExclusive Interview by Ian “The Boxing Historian” Murphy

“Darnell Boone is cagey, he’s a veteran, and does a lot of things the younger guys don’t do. He’s good for us and he makes Gennady mind his “P’s and Q’s”. He can punch!”–Abel Sanchez (Trainer of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin) on Darnell Boone

Darnell Boone is the type of fighter that doesn’t get the respect from many fans that he most certainly deserves, especially in today’s boxing landscape that is dominated by “keeping that zero” and carefully navigated careers. He is one of those guys who will fight anyone. It doesn’t matter if they are rising contenders (and future World Champions) like Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal, Erislandy Lara, and Adonis Stevenson, Darnell comes to fight, win or lose. People can look at his modest record and try and write him off, but the reality is, Boxing needs fighters like Darnell Boone. There used to be such a thing as a journeyman fighter, or someone with substantial skills who is good enough, but not quite on the level of the very top guys or as in Boone’s case, just didn’t get the breaks. Let’s make this very, very clear: “Journeyman” should not be a bad word and it must not be associated with another boxing term: opponent, or a fighter who is in there to lose and pad someone’s record. That is NOT a journeyman and that is not Darnell Boone.

Sometimes it’s only lack of preparation due to taking a fight last minute or inferior management that separates the best from the rest, as the talent is often there. If a fighter doesn’t have a full training camp, their stamina takes a hit and they might gas as the fight goes on and lose a match that they were winning, or lose a close decision. At the highest levels, it’s the preparation that often makes the difference. Not only do fighters often work on short notice, they often agree to compete in multiple weight classes (Boone has fought as low as 154lbs and as high as 175 lbs) and their records don’t always reflect their ability. Some guys get the breaks, some don’t. Darnell has the skills and ability to really take it to many of the top fighters out there. Had a few breaks gone his way, we might be calling Boone a champion and at a bare minimum, a top contender. He had zero amateur fights and started late in the game at age 23. Bearing that in mind, his successes in the ring are even more remarkable.

Men like Darnell are the litmus tests for up and comers, someone to extend your fighter to see if he’s the real deal, or just another hype job. Boxing history is littered with stories about over-hyped prospects being painfully exposed by tough and experienced fighters. Darnell’s upset victory over Stevenson is just such an instance. Adonis went on to become a champion, but Boone took him out, necessitating a change in attitude if he were to reach his potential.

Personally, I found Darnell to be honest, approachable, engaging and very free with his time. These qualities along with his fighting spirit have made him very popular, and he has shown much gratitude toward his fans and respects his fellow fighters. He also has a genuine concern with the wellbeing of up and coming fighters with the hopes that maybe he’ll find a young Darnell Boone and guide him properly. In addition, Darnell has his hands in many creative endeavors outside of boxing.

IM: Darnell thanks for taking to Ringside Report.So, what are you currently up to?

No problem bro, it’s my pleasure and thank you for wanting to interview me. I’m currently training hard and getting ready to fight in June sometime and I have a few things on my plate, but I’ll let everyone know when everything is finalized.

IM: What’s your background? Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Francine Boone and Abdul Fareed. They did their best to keep me grounded, but like any young guy who was the product of that kind of environment I chose running the streets and getting involved with the gang life. I didn’t get sucked deep in it, but I was still affiliated and knew well about it. Later in life I got away from it all and wanted to do something different than selling drugs and carrying guns. I found boxing to be my get away at age 23.

IM: What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?

My proudest moment in boxing is being able to come out of nowhere and be able to hang with these top guys with limited experience.

IM: As a fighter, what would you say is your greatest asset in the ring?

My greatest asset is being able to adapt, avoid punches, and also being smart in there. Plus, I have a lot of heart.

IM: Was there anything or anyone in particular in your life that specifically made you decide to fight?

There was no one to look up to. I became a fighter on my own and like I said I wanted to get away from the streets so I chose boxing as my get away at age 23.

IM: What drives you to succeed, both in the ring, and in life?

What drives me to succeed are my children, my team, and the younger guys in the gym looking at me expecting me to do great. I don’t want to let them down and with me getting love and support from all over the world it gives me extra drive and fire to keep going.

IM: You are noted for your dogged determination, heavy punch and fighting spirit. Where did you get this from?

I get my fighting spirit from wanting to be better than what I’ve seen or been around. I just wanna be great. I don’t wanna say “I tried”. I wanna say “I did that”.

IM: Who are some of your favorite fighters, both today and while you were growing up?

My favorite fighters from back in the day are Sugar Ray Robinson Emanuel Augustus, Sweet Pea Whitaker and Terry Norris. I have no favorite from this era, but I like Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, Rigo, and Triple G.

IM: Most top fighters have unique training methods. Marciano had the 300lb bag and Joe Frazier actually tenderized sides of beef in Philly. How about you?

I have no special method I do for training. I just do what my coaches tell me and operate from there.

IM: Out of anyone you’ve competed against (be it in the ring or in sparring), who was the toughest, most skilled, and most impressive?

Every guy that I’ve been in the ring with has been special. There hasn’t been a certain one who’s been above the rest. The thing that separates them was the level. I’ve been in with elite guys, B level guys and below, but they all had something to offer.

IM: It is well known that you gave all sorts of problems to some of the best in the world when you fought them. Dropping Ward and Kovalev. Taking Adonis out. It’s pretty clear that you had the goods to hang with these guys. Do you think if you got a few more breaks and maybe had stronger management earlier on you would have gotten further in your career and maybe even won a world title?

Yeah, we all know if I had great management when I started where I would be. If I had all that, would I be this popular, this liked, or this in tune with the fans? I just figure it’s not my time yet, so I just keep grinding until my shit comes.

IM: What’s next for Darnell Boone?

Outside of boxing, I’m affiliated with a company that my Uncle Rashid runs called SD MM & VNo studios which stands for “Slightly Different Music & Movies”. I run an independent record label based out of Youngstown, Ohio with my little brother and my step brother called 1093 Entertainment. You can look at the site at 1093entertainment.com. I’m also writing a book and I have an album I’m putting out maybe in the fall. As far as boxing goes, I’m just training hard and mentoring our amateurs and other young fighters on the pro game and just on life. I plan on venturing into coaching, throwing my own amateur fights, and putting together my own management company to help up and coming fighters and show them the honest and fair side of the boxing game.

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