It was a sold out affair May 18 at UDC sports complex as the “Champion Class” fight card finally arrived, with undefeated welterweight boxer Dusty Hernandez Harrison (15-0 record, 8 KOs) headlining the event.
Crowds of boxing fans came out to support the local D.C. talent and got their money worth on a night where knockouts seemed to be the norm.
There were several bouts on the undercard, including a dominating performance by Bowie, Md. native Jerry Odom (4-0 record, 4 KOs). Odom, a super middleweight, used a series of crushing body shots to dispatch Monroe, Mich. native Andrew Morias (1-2 record) by TKO with 1:09 left in the first round.
In the light heavyweight bout later that night, Alexandria, Va.-born Patrick Coye (1-0 record, 1 KO) picked up his first win as a professional by knocking out Charles Parker of Wilson, N.C.
In the heavyweight and featherweight bouts, respectively, both Natu Visinia (9-0 record, 8 KOs) of Lakewood, Calif. and Kevin Rivers Jr. (7-0 record, 5 KOs) of Landover, Md. also picked up big wins.
But the story of the night was Hernandez Harrison and his very impressive performance against Eddie Soto (12-7 record) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
As soon as Harrison entered the arena accompanied by rap artists Wale, Shy Glizzy, and Lightshow, the electricity of the crowd was at a fever pitch and the fighter did not disappoint. Though the first round was clearly a “feel them out” type of round, Harrison eventually found his groove and landed a strong right shortly before the end of the second round.
In the rounds that followed, Harrison’s speed and length were a problem for Soto as Harrison tagged his opponent with jabs and combos, leading to a TKO stoppage at 2:48 of the fifth round.
”I knew he liked the big over hand right so I knew I had to be careful, that’s why I was so patient,” Harrison said after the fight. “I learned that I can make adjustments; going into the fight I wanted to go all body but during the fight I saw that I can mix it up.”
Harrison said he was amazed by the fan support that showed up for his 15th professional fight.
“I love it! I said if I was going to be a boxer I wanted to be one for the fans,” he said. “I love fighting here and hopefully I can bring a championship to the District.”
Harrison said he would seek a bout with former world champion boxer Amir Khan, a popular fighter signed under Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
“There's truth behind [my interest in fighting Khan],” Dusty said. “No, [it won’t happen too] quickly, because I have to put my work in just like he did to get to that point. It’s probably a year maybe a year and a half down the road and I'm not throwing him out there for the money like everyone else has. We had a disagreement at my gym and it’s a little more personal than the money and I'll do the fight for as much as I did this fight for.”
Jeff Fried from All-In Entertainment also weighed in on the opportunity for Dusty to fight Khan.
“He is continuing to develop and at the right time; Dusty can take anyone on at the right time,” Fried said. “He has to continue to develop, he’s at the right pace and you will be seeing him in some major fights down the road.”