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July 24, 2013

By Benny Henderson Jr.

Turning pro at the young age of sixteen and now a young veteran, nineteen year-old Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (16-0) has so far had nothing but success in his boxing career. The young gun aims to keep his record unblemished against Guillermo Valdes (12-4) on August 23rd at Dover Downs in Delaware. With over two hundred amateur fights and sixteen pro bouts under his belt, Harrison feels his experience is his best quality despite still being a teenager. In this exclusive interview, Dusty speaks out on his upcoming bout, his career and more. Enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: You turned pro at the age of sixteen, and made your debut a week after you turned seventeen. At an age where most are thinking about getting their license, driving around town, partying etc., you were embarking on a career. Why did you turn pro at such an early age?

Dusty Hernandez-Harrison: When I was little, I wanted to fight as a pro, I did want to go to the Olympics. When Sugar Ray Leonard won the Olympics, everybody knew about it.  Now, people hardly know the fighters. It is not that they did anything wrong, it is just that the Olympics are not the same. So instead of going for the Olympics, I decided to turn pro.

BH: Here you are, nineteen years old, still a very young age. At nineteen, I was basically still doing the same things I was doing at seventeen. So I ask this, how do you stay grounded at such an early age?

DHH: I have to give credit to my Dad. My parents raised me to stay humble. I dont let stuff get to my head, when I go to the gym, you would think I was just a regular kid. I workout hard, and stay motivated. I owe it to my parents.

BH: Speaking of your parents, your Dad is your manager. How do you guys keep things on a professional level and not get personal?

DHH: He has no trouble stepping to the side and letting somebody else help. He does not have to be the main person, he knows he is going to be in my corner. He does have the final say, but he has no problem stepping to the side when it comes to training.

BH: You step back in the ring August 23rd. Who you will be fighting?

DHH: I am fighting Guillermo Valdes. He is 12-4 and from Florida.

BH: Do you know anything about the guy you are fighting?

DHH: He fought Thomas Dulorme and Gabriel Bracero and lost to them. He is an older guy, but he will be coming to fight. So, I still have to be careful.

BH: That is a step up. You are undefeated, 16-0, you have fought some decent competition, basically building yourself up, gaining the confidence and learning your craft. But when do you feel you will be ready to step up to a little higher caliber of an opponent? Maybe make a run for somebody in the top twenty?

DHH: Well, if you ask my Dad, I have been trying to do it since I was seventeen. My team is waiting for me to grow into what I am going to be. I am nineteen, they are waiting for me to grow into a full man, not just a young man like I am now. I have been trying to do it since I had my pro debut.

BH: Well, time is definitely on your side.

DHH: I understand, I know that everybody is looking out for the best in my career.

BH: What do you feel are your greatest qualities as a fighter, as well, where do you feel you need some improvement?

DHH: I think my greatest quality is my jab, my last two fights you can see the jab. My biggest weakness when I turned pro was I never knew what would happen if I got hurt. I never got dropped or hurt or even a standing eight count in the amateurs. I got caught in my eighth pro fight in the last round, but I handled it very well and ended strong. Now, sometimes a defensive fighter gets a little too defensive.

BH: What do you feel separates you from the other prospects in your division?

DHH: Even though I am so young, I am still going to say it is my experience. I have fought all over the country as an amateur. I have had the pleasure to spar with Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Chop Chop Corley. I have had the chance to spar a lot of people. it is weird saying my experience at my age, but there is not a style that I have not seen.

BH: Why should a fight fan pay to come see you fight?

DHH: Even if I fight out of town where nobody knows me, at the end of the day the fans want to take my picture with me, so something must be exciting about me. The crowd loves it.

BH: Anything in closing?

DHH:  If anybody wants to keep updated on my career, go to my website It has all the links to my social sites. And for ticket info for my next fight, call 202-331-3900.

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