By Francisco Salazar
What were you doing when you were 17 years old?
Finishing your senior year of high school? Working a part-time job? Playing a varsity sports?
Those sounds like common things any 17 year old would be doing. Nothing really out of the ordinary for people that age.
Then there is Dusty Hernandez Harrison. At 17 years old, he was making his professional debut against a fighter named Alphonso Alexander. Only thing was Alexander was twice Hernandez Harrison’s age (38).
No matter for the fighter from Washington, D.C. Harrison was able to box his way to a unanimous decision victory and has not looked back.
Harrison will fight Josh Torres tonight inside the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in a scheduled 10 round bout. The bout will not be televised and it will take place prior to the Gennady Golovkin-Curtis Stevens middleweight title bout.
While some young fighters take the easy route of not fighting as often, the same cannot be said for Harrison, who will be fighting for the seventh time in 2013 after fighting eight times in 2012.
“I definitely want to stay busy because it keeps me motivated,” Harrison told Boxingscene.com over the phone this week. “I always have a fight lined up. It lets me keep working in the gym and as a young fighter, I feel that’s important.”
Harrison (17-0, 10 KOs) is coming off a fourth round stoppage victory over Guillermo Valdes on August 23rd.
Now he will face Torres, a fighter with a modest record of 12-2-1, with 5 KOs. It will be an intriguing matchup of young prospects. While it will be a modest step up in competition for Harrison, he believes he is ready for the challenge and anything thrown his way.
“This is definitely my biggest fight of my career. I’ve had the best training camp for this fight and I’ve worked hard in the gym. We’re treating this as a world title fight (The bout between Harrison and Torres is for the vacant WBC Youth welterweight title).”
“I’ve seen two of his (Torres) fights. One in which he won and one in which he lost. I don’t think he’s faced the type of extreme pressure that I possess. I believe that my height and speed will eventually be too much for him.”
Harrison has built quite a following in the Washington, D.C. area. According to Harrison, there will be over 100 family and friends who will make the trip up Interstate 95 to New York City and watch the fight live inside the Garden. A bus will take over 50 fans alone.
The Washington D.C. area has produced a number of world champions and contenders. Fighters such as Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley have had recent success in the ring, along with Lamont and Anthony Peterson and Gary Russell, Jr.
Harrison believes with his dedication and determination, he could become another of the great fighters that represents the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia).
“It would mean a lot to me because this is such a big boxing community. There are a lot of fighters that don’t stick with it because they step away from the sport. Now they want to come back to the sport and want to train alongside me.”
“The area has a lot of amateur shows. When I little, there were shows it seems like every week, because I would sometimes fight every weekend. A lot of people since then have gotten behind me and they have supported me. It would mean a lot to me and them if I were to fight for a world title here in the (Washington D.C.) area.
Harrison is making a name for himself thus far. He is fulfilling a dream of fighting on a big stage, even if it in a preliminary fight.
Just like in the ring, Harrison has a mature, yet humble attitude outside of the ring. If he realizes the boxing game and all its high and lows at a young age, then he knows what to expect.
Harrison is enjoying the early success at 19, but knows there is bigger and better later on in his career. Not bad for a guy who made his pro debut before he could legally buy a lottery ticket.
Then again, he has demonstrated he does not need luck to achieve success in the ring.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Knockout Nation, and Ring Magazine. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing