OXON HILL – Washington D.C. native Dusty Harrison is slowly but surely getting back to form after an impressive seventh round TKO victory over Juan De Angel on the undercard of the Teofimo Lopez and Masayoshi Nakatani fight at the MGM Hotel and Casino in Oxon Hill on July 19.
The near-capacity crowd of 2,100 broke out in chants of “Dusty, Dusty” in the fifth round as Harrison brought the heat on Angel some clean, crisp punches to his head and body.
Harrison (33-0-1) was making his return to the ring after dealing with personal issues. He fought the fight as a middleweight of 159 pounds, even though he came up in the boxing ranks as a welterweight. According to the District native, it zoomed up to over 200 pounds during his time away from the sport.
“I fought this fight at 160, but I will be at 154 in my next fights,” Harrison said. “I came from 170, then to 165 and I got to 159 for this one, but hopefully I can get to 154 for the next one.”
What impressed those that have followed Harrison, 25, since he started at 16 years-old were his poise and his defense. He was the youngest professional boxer in the country at the time.
Now, Harrison constantly ducked and blocked Angel’s punches. He took his time to throw jabs to the body and the head, looped a few overhead right hands and connected with power shots to the Barranquilla, Colombia native’s body. Angel weighed in almost five pounds more than Harrison but if that was a concern, it never materialized.
As the fight went on, fans could see Angel (21-12-1) wearing down. He never stopped throwing punches, but Harrison’s power began taking its toll in the later rounds. The District native stuck to the plan from his corner, led by his father and trainer Buddy Harrison.
“The game plan was to force him to his right and touch the body,” Dusty Harrison said. “It took me a while to do it but as soon as I did, it worked, and the body shots broke him down and I was able to get to his head.”
Despite the win, Dusty Harrison said is still not satisfied with where his career is at this point. However, his father sees a big difference in his son.
“The physical is still there,” Buddy Harrison said. “He’s still strong. What I see that’s different is his mind. That was my biggest concern. He goes home at night. He is not running the streets. He’s getting his life together.”
The young boxer says he wants to fight for a regional title soon and “get my ranking back.” He wants to feel like a professional boxer again. According to his father, his focus to his ring work will come after his pending legal issues are resolved.
“I still drive a messed-up car and I still live in my same neighborhood,” Dusty Harrison said.” I lost everything in the two and a half years I was away. I struggled to pay my bills. I have been boxing for a long time and I don’t have much to show for it. I want more as a professional boxer.”
Other local fighters on the card include Patrick Harris from Hyattsville and representing the Headbangers Gym in Washington D.C., who scored a unanimous decision over Donald Ward to remain undefeated at 17-0. In another local-involved fight, Nathaniel Lee Davis of Lusby lost by a TKO to Rolando Vargas to even his record to 1-1.