By Anson Wainwright
Tonight middleweight prospect Antoine “Action” Douglas headlines the 200th episode of Shobox when he steps up to face once-beaten Michel Soro.
"My first thoughts are victory, as my thoughts are to every fight," Douglas told BoxingScene.com from his training base in Burke, Va. “As of right now I’m ready to go, my biggest thing is preparation, when I’m prepared I’m capable.”
The bout will be for the vacant WBA international title, which while not overly prestigious would see Douglas move into the rankings after just 21-months as a pro.
Today Douglas (14-0, 9 knockouts) might be a rising 160-pound fighter but the 21-year old hasn't had the easiest of lives.
He grew up in Washington D.C. the product of a broken home, his mother was a drug addict, he moved around various foster homes as documented in this short video http://vimeo.com/83505447 his uncle, Kay Koroma entered his life in his late teens and has helped Douglas graduate from college with honors, as well as moving quickly in the boxing world. Douglas hopes to further his education one day by going to university.
“Some would say I lived a life that was hard but it makes us who we are,” said the well rounded Douglas “God only gives us what we can handle, I look at it all as a test. It made me who I am.”
Along with Douglas-Soro, the Shobox “Next Generation” quadruple header from Turning Stone Casino, Verona, NY will also feature heavy handed super middleweight Jerry Odum vs. Vilier Quinonez, while Cecil McCalla meets Oscar Godoy at welterweight with Wanzell Ellison and Tony Luis squaring off at lightweight. The broadcast begins at 10.00 p.m. ET/PT.
BoxingScene.com - You face Michel Soro on Shobox this Friday, what are your thoughts on that fight?
Antoine Douglas - My first thoughts are victory, as my thoughts are to every fight.
The fact that it's the 200th episode of Shobox makes it that much better, there will be plenty more people watching.
BoxingScene.com - Soro is a step up for you, what do you see in terms of his strengths and areas to exploit going into this fight?
AD - I don’t know too much of him, I have seen some footage on him. As of right now I’m ready to go, my biggest thing is preparation, when I’m prepared I’m capable. The fights right around the corner, all that is left is to get ready.
I won’t speak too much on what I’m going to exploit, I’ll leave that for everyone to see. He’s 24-1 and that one blemish is where he may see his downfall, that’s the way I look at it. He’s made one mistake, one mistake is enough in the sport of boxing, all it takes is one mistake.
He definitely has big fight experience that will be strength for him.
BoxingScene.com - You've been very active as a pro, you only turned professional 21-months ago, you've had 14 fights and now you’re stepping up into a ten-round fight for the first time?
AD - Yes, I like to be active. I like to stay active to stay sharp and to keep moving, you can't get to where you want to be by standing still, waiting around.
All credit goes to my promoter GH3, they've been able to keep me moving and moving the right way and getting me the proper exposure.
Everything has been great, we’re going forward, we don’t look back, we don’t look down.
BoxingScene.com - In your most recent fight you stopped former world title challenger Luca Messi in two rounds?
AD - I didn't go in with any expectations, I know my capabilities, I know he's coming into my home town and also that he's a fighter. He's been hurt before, with him wanting to fight a lot I knew I could take advantage of that.
It was a great fight for me, even better victory, stopping him in two rounds. Everything was great, everything was on point.
It definitely impressed people. I don't think people expected it to be that early. A lot of people expected it to go to the later rounds.
BoxingScene.com - If we go back, I know you had a tough upbringing, could you tell us about that?
AD - I was born to a drug addicted mother, they told my mom I wouldn't grow to be a fully functional human, I wouldn't be able to walk, talk, move or speak. I passed that and from then till the age of three my mom was still running the streets, doing what she wanted to do. She knew the predicament she was in was not what she wanted me and my older siblings to grow up in. She took us to our aunt's house, she wanted to give us a better chance as she knew she wasn't doing to good.
My father, he showed his face here and there. He didn't know what was going on to much. Once my mom had given us up to my aunt he didn't know, he asked the family, the family didn't really deal with him. So when he finally found us, he tried to support us as much as he could.
My earliest memory is being dropped off at my aunt’s house in some sort of bag with my older brother and sister. I lived there until about six or seven then we got put in foster care when my older brother ran away.
Through out my youth I sent time in foster care. My family not being there some would say I lived a life that was hard but it makes us who we are. God only gives us what we can handle, I look at it all as a test. It made me who I am.
BoxingScene.com - How did you become interested in boxing?
AD - My cousin who adopted us got me and my older brother into boxing when I was 10 and then it took off from there.
BoxingScene.com - You had a pretty good amateur career. What did you achieve?
AD - I won the PAL, I won Ringside, I won the junior Olympics in 2009, I represented the USA in the world cup in Ukraine. I fought Jesse Hart, Luis Arias, Errol Spence at 152. I stopped counting (how many amateur fights I had) when I got to 80 fights, I was like 120-20.
BoxingScene.com - You're one of the new bred of middleweights coming through, have you been able to spar or train with any of the current top guys?
AD - I went into camp with Andre Ward and Amir Khan to prepare for one of my fights awhile back. It was very technical (sparring with Andre Ward), very informative. I enjoyed it. What I took from sparring was how he didn’t waste any movement, all his movement were a set up, everything he did was very precise. He was complete in the ring. Amir Khan he boxed a lot, he let his hands go a lot, I enjoyed that sparring with a lighter, faster guy. I sparred with Dominic Wade, John Thompson who’s a junior middleweight.
BoxingScene.com - Tell us about yourself as a person away from boxing.
AD - All my focus goes into boxing, other than that I like to hang with friends, my number one hobby is video games. Other than that I enjoy the simple things, TV, the internet, the decade of today, I love technology.
I graduated in from Anacostia Senior high school which is in the heart of south east Washington D.C maybe the worst school in the DMV, I graduated in the top ten in my class with honors. I have plenty of college offers but boxing was just a once in a life time offer and in my mind I knew college would always be there, I had to take advantage of certain opportunities that were once in a life time.
I knew growing up I had to be different, my older siblings didn’t have not to much education, had to work a 9-5 job or no job at all, trying to hustle the street. Going to school I knew I had to be different so I strived so hard to better myself and get an education.
My plan is when I’m financially set, so I don’t have the stresses of loans or having to pay debts then I’ll go to school. I don't have to work an extra job.
Me and my uncle we get a long so well because we're basically the same, we're chilled, don't say too much and mostly keep to ourselves and avoid drama. We're usually on the same page and have each others back.
BoxingScene.com - Lastly do you have a message for Michel Soro ahead of your fight?
AD - No messages, just prepare to be ready. I don’t do too much talking. I let my action speak in the ring.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright