During a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce his next fight, District boxer Dusty Hernandez-Harrison sat at a table in front of a banner displaying the Michael Jordan Jumpman logo. The Jordan Brand is sponsoring Hernandez-Harrison’s bout May 18, and the 18-year-old welterweight was asked if he felt any added pressure given the backing from the iconic shoe and clothing line.
“Yeah, I can handle it,” Harrison said without missing a beat.
Then Hernandez-Harrison told a story about his most recent bout that underscored the promising fighter’s supreme confidence and poise. It was only moments until he was to face Jonathan Garcia last weekend in Dover, Del., when a physician performed a routine check of Hernandez-Harrison’s pulse and heart rate.
The results were such that the physician asked Hernandez-Harrison in jest if he was ready to fall asleep. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez-Harrison, who has been fighting professionally for less than two years, scored a six-round decision to remain undefeated (14-0, eight knockouts).
“That shows how calm he is,” said District-based lawyer Jeff Fried, whose All-In Entertainment is promoting the nine-bout card on May 18 featuring Hernandez-Harrison against an opponent to be named at UDC’s Sports Complex in Northwest.
“That shows there’s something wrong with him,” father and trainer Buddy Harrison interjected.
Recently voted prospect of the year by StiffJab.com, a prominent boxing Web site, Hernandez-Harrison has been on the rise since turning professional at 17 and logging his first victory as the youngest professional boxer in the United States. Hernandez-Harrison won three Golden Gloves titles and compiled more than 200 bouts as an amateur.
In addition to his parents and promotion team, Hernandez-Harrison had the support of some other renowned members within the boxing community at his news conference. Included in that group was Rock Newman, who managed former world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe.
Also attending the news conference was local rapper Wale, who is friends with Hernandez-Harrison. The well-known hip-hop star was born in Gaithersburg and rose to prominence while recording and performing in the D.C. area.
Hernandez-Harrison “is a natural,” Newman said. “He has no limits whatsoever. He’s going to have the popularity where he’s not going to have to go overseas to fight. Fighters will have to come here to fight Dusty.”
Hernandez-Harrison will be fighting in the District as a professional for the ninth time, but for the first time at UDC, where he also has enrolled as a student beginning in June. All of Hernadez-Harrison’s previous local fights have taken place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Hernandez-Harrison’s last bout in the nation’s capital was Dec. 8, 2012, when he beat Darrell Jones in a first-round knockout.
“My goals are maybe a little unrealistic,” Hernandez-Harrison said. “I want it all. I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.”