Founding Farmers Restaurant in Washington, D.C. was the setting for local welterweight sensation Dusty Hernandez Harrison’s news conference ahead of an upcoming fight scheduled for May 18 at the University of the District of Columbia.

The event, billed as a “Champion Class” bout, is presented by All-In Entertainment, a D.C. based boxing and entertainment promotional company founded by Jeff Fried, Phil Ivey, a nine-time Bracelet winner in the world series of poker, and NBA guard Monta Ellis of the Milwaukee Bucks.

There has long been a push to bring championship quality boxing back to the D.C. area. The group promoting this fight card, including sponsors Jordan Brand and Epix Sports, which will be televising the very first “live” fight of their existence, D.C. may be poised to once again be a hotbed for exciting boxing fights.

Legendary boxing promoter Roc Newman was present at the news conference and was the first to take to the podium, speaking on the scope of the event.

Harrison is 14-0 and enjoying a groundswell of support whenever and wherever he boxes, and Newman said Harrison has the “potential” and “talent” to draw major fights to the area. Newman said Harrison could draw other top fighters to the east coast, particularly the District, for fights.

Harrison is only 18, but on film appears blessed with such talent that even his father and trainer, Buddy Harrison, is amazed.

“I recall my days fighting and I used to have butterflies in my stomach and was nervous before fights,” Buddy said. “Dusty, he is as calm as ever listening to music, and tweeting. We had the doctors check his pulse and the doc was surprised that he wasn’t sleeping. I mean, the kid is calm and focused.”

Scottie Irving, chairman of the D.C. boxing commission, spoke about Newman’s legendary record with D.C. fighters.

“I almost had a heart attack,” Irving said, recalling the time he was approached to sign paperwork to let the then-17-year-old Harrison fight, despite knowing the history of concussions and injury in boxing. But Irving was more than comfortable signing the paperwork after seeing Harrison fight for himself.

Famed rapper Wale was also on hand to speak on Harrisons’ behalf. Wale mentioned how his parents met at UDC and recalled when his cousin, also an up-and-coming boxer, died and Dusty offered his fight purse to cover the funeral expenses.

To contact Mike Wright, tweet @FSPCrewShow.


Mike Wright

Special to the AFRO