In an unassuming plaza district on Glenwood Ave. in Decatur, a tight-knit group of men have formed a pact. The men are boxers, who through promoter Pulse Boxing’s have begun making names for themselves on local cards. But their pact isn’t one made of individual accolades — the fighters want to succeed together. And achievment for them is the common goal of establishing consistent championship-level boxing events in Atlanta.
The fighters are all participants on this Saturday’s card, dubbed A Night of Championship Boxing 5, taking place at the Kroc Center. But today, the fighters are hosting a public workout to give media and fans an early glimpse of who the card standouts might be.
The gym, Mustafah’s Boxing Training, is a converted storefront sandwiched between a food mart and hair salon. When it comes to keeping the fighters focused, the small space is an asset. The ring is less than a 100 feet from the door, symbolizing when you enter this realm, you’re here for training and nothing else.
First up is 21-year old heavyweight DaCarree “Mac Truck” Scott, a regional and state Golden Gloves winner whose making his pro debut this Saturday. At 5’9 and close to 300 pounds, his squat frame will make it challenging in a division where fighters can tower as high as 6’9. But Scott lets his preceived physical limitations fuel him.
“You don’t see many heavyweight fighters that look like me,” says Scott. “But I have a killer of a right hand and the will. I have nothing else going on but boxing. This is my only focus and I have to make it work.”
Scott received addtional life-changing motivation this month with the birth a beautiful baby girl named Jakaria.
22-year old DeMichael Harris (2-0) began boxing at 19 and turned pro after only 15 fights. Unlike others on Saturday’s card, he’s already had a taste of the elite boxing atmosphere having fought on two Gervonta Davis undercards (Gamboa, Nunez).
“Fighting on the big stage helped me get ready for what does come because a lot of fighters who haven’t get nervous,” Harris told BeatsBoxingMayhem. “My weight class right now (130), everyone is moving up to 135. But I’ll [still] mention them as well — [I want] Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Tevin Farmer, all of them”
Every crew has a firecracker and that man is Sean “Showtime” Charleston (4-0 KOs). In all my years covering the sport, I’ve never seen boxing training done in a ski-mask. But it sums up Charleston’s mentality — take what he wants by any means necessary. However, selfishness isn’t in this welterweight southpaw’s mentality. His sweatshirt, emblazoned with the phrase “Never Eat Alone,” explains that Charleston plans to spread around any future success.
“When I get in position, young bull is gonna get in position,” he says, pointing to his trainer.
As for his opponent, who’s still to be decided?
“First round, 30 seconds! I’m knocking bro’ out, no cap!,” he declared. “I really don’t even know his name, on God.”
What’s the source of all the intensity he brings to the ring?
“The struggle. I’m sleeping on my partner’s couch right now. I gotta make it out and this is my way.”
Describing his fighting style as “aggressive but chill,” the southpaw cruiserweight Darin “D Boi” Austin is one of the few older showcase fighters at 33. Born and raised in Atlanta, he started boxing at age 21 and went 39-0 as an amateur. Family obligations took him away from the sport, but those same obligations have brought him back for a final, dedicated run.
“I took a couple years off, started having kids,” Austin explained. “Once my kids started getting here I had to provide for them and they gave me the extra reason to get back to work.
“I’m going to be doing this until I’m 40 plus!”
Although still in his athletic prime at 27 years old, you get the distinct impression super welterweight D’Andre Smith (7-0) has no time to waste. Starting boxing at the tender age of 11, he amassed 174 amateur fights before turning pro in 2012. For two years his schedule moved at a good pace until an abrupt 5-year hiatus from 2014 through 2019.
Smith fought twice last year and now wants to make an impact on the national scene in a stacked division.
“Being a world champion is a major goal,” Smith said. “That’s why I’m here morning, noon and night.”
This Saturday’s headliner is Roddricus “Hot Rod” Livsey (4-0). Although at an age where most fighters are winding down their careers, the 36-year old super lightweight is only two years into his pro journey. His new path is inspired by the loss of his best friend Julien Wyant, a promising young fighter who was tragically murdered in 2016.
After 13 years of flirting with a boxing career while keeping one foot in the streets, it would be Wyant’s death that prompted Livsey to go all-in on making the Sweet Science his livelihood.
“He (Julien) influened me a lot,” Livsey reminisced. “He used to always try to and get me up to go to the gym.”
While streets have their many pitfalls, success in boxing has proven much more strenuous.
“When I was in the streets, I could just wake up and go. With boxing, I gotta get up in the morning and go running. I come to the gym, then I gotta train. I gotta eat right. I can’t have sex, I can’t drink. It’s almost like fasting.
“Two weeks before the fight I always take away the things I like to do. Instagram, women, engaging in meaningless conversation — I take that time out to prepare myself mentally. Boxing is 90% mental and 10% physical, so I prepare myself mentally and spiritually to go to war.
“It’s always people dying in the ring. You can play basketball and football, but you don’t play boxing. There’s no teammate to throw the ball to. Once that bell rings, you’re in there by yourself.”
Tickets for A Night of Championship Boxing 5 are available HERE. Bell time is at 8 PM ET.