Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Dirrell: 'Flint Strong' Is Us Sticking Together As A City, As A Whole

At age 34 and having boxed—pro and amateur—for nearly a quarter-century, Anthony Dirrell readily admits that there aren’t many years left in his boxing career. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

Where he’ll never quit fighting, however, is in the ongoing battle to forever better the lives of those in his hometown of Flint, Mich.

The reigning super middleweight titlist is among a handful of high-profile athletes who continue to put the city first—particularly its ongoing water crisis which has been an issue for five years and counting—whether entering a boxing ring, football field or basketball court. It’s a status he carries as proudly as—if not more so than—his title status ahead of his Sept. 28 showdown versus unbeaten David Benavidez (21-0, 18KOs).

“Flint Strong is, we're all a city, we are all one,” Dirrell (33-1-1, 24KOs) explained of the ongoing movement during a recent media conference call to discuss his clash with Benavidez, which airs live on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “We all support each other.”


Dirrell and his older brother Andre—both of whom served on the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing team which competed in Athens, Greece—have long been at the frontline in demanding better quality of life for Flint, which has been under an emergency water crisis since 2014 when switching its supply from Lake Huron to Flint River.

Michigan’s enacted Lead and Copper Rule in 2018 leave the state with the strictest water standards and perhaps the most closely monitored in the United States, Still, old issues still linger regardless of any amount of testing data provided in attempting to claim it’s no longer the crisis it once was.

The city’s most prominent athletes continue to band together to restore hope for its community.

Days after becoming the undisputed middleweight champion with a 10-round wipeout of Christian Hammer, two-time Olympic Gold medalist Claressa Shields participated in a local “Pack Your Back” drive which donated more than 40 pallets worth of bottled water to Flint citizens.

“We can be something, just because we’re from Flint, high murder rate, the dirty water and everything, we are still fighting people,” Shields told the local NBC affiliate at the time. “When I get in the ring and fight, it’s not just for me, it’s for them too.”

Shields (9-0, 2KOs) returns to her hometown for his next bout, an Oct. 5 showdown versus Croatia’s Ivana Habazin (20-3, 7KOs) in hopes of becoming a three-division titlist with the fight taking place at 154 pounds.

One week prior, Dirrell looks to make the first defense of his second reign as a 168-pound titlist in facing Benavidez, who at 22 is 12 years his junior and entering the prime of his boxing career. The bout comes in supporting capacity to a welterweight unification clash between Errol Spence and Shawn Porter, and taking more than 2,000 miles from Dirrell’s hometown.

Every day he trains and all the way through fight night and beyond, though, there’s no questioning where his heart lies and whom he proudly represents.

“You got a lot of people from Flint,” notes Dirrell. “I can sit here and name people all day. Kyle Kuzma is from Flint. You got JaVale McGee from Flint (both Kuzma and McGee play for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers). You got Monté Morris (Denver Nuggets) from Flint.

“You got a lot of these athletes that are repping Flint. If you look at any one of their tattoos, I bet they have Flint on one of them. It’s just us sticking together as a city as a whole and trying to make us better.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by The D3vil on 09-24-2019

[QUOTE=Boxing Goat;20078241][I]Ok, so you're now admitting that democrats are leftists. [B]Great[/B][/I]. Antifa is the left, therefore democratic thinking = Antifa, which was my point and there is no disputing it. Parties who believe in violence and stand against freedom of…

Comment by Idunnoshet on 09-24-2019

I kinda liked all the political talk . Better than the usual " insert boxer name is " ... ducking , a bum , with the wrong promotional company crap.

Comment by Boxing Goat on 09-24-2019

[QUOTE=The D3vil;20077495]Wrong. [B]Democrats did not equal left until a few decades ago[/B].. The Democrats & Republicans have switched sides multiple time. [url][/url][/QUOTE] [I]Ok, so you're now admitting that democrats are leftists. [B]Great[/B][/I]. Antifa is the left, therefore democratic thinking =…

Comment by The D3vil on 09-24-2019

[QUOTE=Boxing Goat;20076329]Left = democrats , far left = still fkn democrat! KKK was democrats Antifa are democrats In fact, they are being fascists themselves while protesting others free speech and are even too fkn stupid to understand that! It's just…

Comment by Pigeons on 09-23-2019

If Claressa Shields can make it out Flint, so can the Dirrell brothers.

Top Headlines
Conwell vs. Toussaint Tops ShoBox Quadrupleheader, October 7 Memo Heredia Has High Hopes For Robeisy Ramirez Bob Arum: We Think Ajagba Can Be Among Top Heavyweights In The World Ennis: Extra Weight Won’t Matter For Abreu; I'll Go In There & Get The Stoppage Pedraza: As I Keep Moving Forward, Fights Will Keep Getting Tougher And Tougher Alex Saucedo vs. Arnold Barboza Jr. To Co-Headline Lomachenko-Lopez On 10/17 Erickson Lubin: You Could See How Much I've Changed Since The Charlo Fight Jaron Ennis: I Might Have To Get Into A Mandatory Position To Get A Title Shot Ajagba: Time Away From Ring Was Frustrating, Hurts To Not Be Able To Do Something You Love Nyambayar: I Had A Sprained Ankle Against Gary Russell; I'd Love A Rematch Lubin: I'm Fresher, Hungrier Than Lara & Trout; Looking To Make Statement Against Gausha Pedraza: I Think Lomachenko Will Dominate Lopez, But He Can't Get Reckless Daily Bread Mailbag: Charlo Brothers, Ennis, Canelo, Spinks, More's Television Pick of The Week - September 19 McKenna: Beating Ohara Davies Will Be Highlight of My Career Joe Joyce: We'll See if Dubois Can Take My Heavy, Powerful Shots! Frank Warren: Whyte Received Shorter Medical Suspension Than Spelman? Francis Chua Aims To Fight, Looks To Kambosos, NG, MacKenzie Boxing Facing Financial Adjustments Johnny Nelson Confident Whyte Would Have Benefited With Tibbs in Corner Vijender Singh Hopes To Resume Career Before Year is Over Josh Taylor Must Remain Focused on Khongsong, Says Ben Davison Javier Molina: Pedraza Looked Good With LesPierre - I'm No LesPierre! Amir Khan Appointed as President of WBC Middle East Boxing Council Ajagba vs. Rice, Ramirez vs. Caraballo - Ready To Fight Jose Pedraza, Javier Molina - Set For Showdown in Las Vegas Pedraza-Molina ESPN+ Weigh-In Report From The Bubble Ennis vs. Abreu, Nyambayar vs. Breedy - Set For Bouts Erickson Lubin, Terrell Gausha - Ready For WBC Eliminator Haven Brady Jr. Inks Promotional With Top Rank Crawford vs. Brook Negotiations at Advanced Stage For November 14 Zhang Zhilei Inks Promotional Pact With Eddie Hearn Juan Carlos Abreu Comes In 3-Plus Pounds Overweight For Jaron Ennis Fight Rene Tellez-Giron Return Pushed Back Due To COVID-19 Terrell Gausha: I Was Nervous That I Wouldn't Get This Fight Again Teofimo Lopez: Lomachenko Is On His Way Out, I'm Looking Through Him Jermell Charlo: I Don't Want Judges To Make Decision For Me Against Rosario Hearn on Yarde-Buatsi: It's a Massive Box Office Fight at The O2 Abreu: Either Jaron Ennis Knocks Me Out Or I Will Knock Him Out Bilal Fawaz Inks Agreement With MTK Global
Latest Forum Threads