By Jeff Zimmerman
Franchoin Crews-Dezurn (6-1, 2 KOs) strolled by way of the JW Marriott Lodge in September 2019 in Los Angeles dressed “to the nines” sporting a gold-colored outfit that resembled a boxing gown with matching gold pumps and darkish shades and appeared each bit a star in a metropolis stuffed with stars or folks making an attempt to grow to be one. She was there with the remainder of boxing elite and lots of Hollywood A-listers for the mega unification bout between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter at Staples Middle the next evening, that Spence Jr. gained in a hotly contested cut up resolution.
Fact be informed, Crews-Dezurn often known as “The Heavy Hitting Diva,” is little question a star within the making, however the remainder of the universe hasn’t fairly realized it but. She is after all of the WBC/WBO tremendous middleweight champion and is making strikes out and in of the ring to construct her model.
Crews-Dezurn’s old flame was music as she informed Fightnews.com® in an unique interview whereas she prepares to struggle Ashleigh Curry (8-13-4, 1 KO) on Saturday, Jan 2, on the undercard of the Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell showdown in Dallas to kick off the brand new 12 months.
“I’m a Rockstar at coronary heart and I wished to be a singer and a songwriter, which I’m, however that was my old flame,” stated Crews-Dezurn. “And I don’t know the way I simply fell into the game. I used to be utilizing boxing to shed some pounds however singing and fell in love with that, however I all the time used to struggle, in order that’s not a problem. I used to be a tomboy. I fought at school, I fought within the streets.”
“I used to be often known as the loopy woman that would struggle within the neighborhood,” recalled Crews-Dezurn, laughing at her early years.
She had no downside combating boys both.
“As my husband says, ‘equal alternative ass whoopin’, I’ll struggle males, I’ll struggle girls. It’s no matter,” as she continued to chortle.
Crews-Dezurn was 14 or 15 when she first placed on her first pair of gloves and was a nationwide champion by 17.
“it simply caught with me. I performed sports activities after I was youthful,” stated Crews-Dezurn. “I’m initially from Virginia and after I transitioned to Baltimore sadly the varsity system wasn’t as superior as Virginia, so I sort of obtained misplaced in it and I couldn’t pursue my music and my sports activities like I preferred.
“So, after I began boxing, I obtained extra in form and it gave me that adrenaline rush and it gave me one thing to deal with. That’s what stored me [in boxing] and yea my conditioning modified.”
She makes use of the identical mindset she realized from music and applies it to the candy science.
“I grew up on music and every thing about leisure,” Crews-Dezurn defined. “Once you see like a Future’s Baby or a number of the 90’s or 2000’s artist and the way they’re little extra refined than they’re today. I really feel like music today could be very microwaved. You needed to work at your artistry and every thing you probably did the place I got here from and that’s sort of what I put into boxing, as a result of I used to be doing a variety of nice issues and making historical past earlier than social media was an enormous factor.”
Crews-Dezurn relishes her distinctive nickname because it fits her completely.
“I’ve been the “Heavy Hitting Diva” since I stepped on the scene,” she shared. “I’d sing the nationwide anthem on the USA boxing tournaments and go on and win the entire event.
“I assume I obtained it from my mother having that “diva” persona, however I’m not an excellent bitch, but when I’ve to struggle for what I would like, yea, however that’s who I’m. That’s actually who I’m.”
Crews-Dezurn additionally has robust ties to maybe the largest “diva” within the sport and the present “face of lady’s boxing,” and self-proclaimed GWOAT (Biggest Lady Of All Time) Claressa Shields, who she confronted in every of their professional debut.
“We really fought a pair occasions within the amateurs too,” stated Crews-Dezurn. “I used to be the highest seed, when she got here on the scene. That’s how we initially met after which it was like a fluke.
“They stated like 18 women turned her down for her professional debut and her administration known as me and my husband and we simply checked out one another and stated why not. I used to be going for the 2020 Olympics and I nonetheless had like two months to start out coaching camp and after they known as concerning the alternative, I used to be like why not. I didn’t need to go professional, I by no means thought of professional, I don’t know, I simply fell into it as soon as once more, like I fell into boxing.”
Crews-Dezurn has had nice success in her professional profession to this point whereas with out a lot fanfare, as Shields has grow to be a three-weight world champion after two Olympic gold medals and is now crossing over to blended martial arts the place she has been coaching with a number of the largest stars within the sport together with Jon Jones and Holly Holm.
She weighed in on Shields changing into a two-sport star.
“I believe that she’s aggressive and I simply need her to be protected. That’s all. I do know she works exhausting. I help her. Simply be protected and do what you’re born to do, be nice.”
Early on their relationship was not fairly as congenial, maybe considerably frosty, however at this time there’s a mutual respect between the 2 champs, however it took time to develop.
“I believe how we are saying boxing is our personal little world, I really feel like for a very long time and I believe it modified as soon as Claressa beginning exhibiting a variety of respect, actively and publicly, exhibiting her admiration and her respect for me,” Crews-Dezurn acknowledged fortunately. “It was for a very long time that if folks preferred her, they couldn’t like me. I’m like I’m nonetheless going to be me regardless, I used to be right here first. I’m nonetheless right here.
“It was like, I don’t know why folks did that, however I felt like that occurred. And as soon as that occurred, sort of pushed me over to the aspect rather a lot. However I’m nonetheless right here, in order that’s an excellent factor.”
All the pieces is sweet now between them and Crews-Dezurn had nothing however excessive reward for her boxing peer.
“Yea after all, she’s a queen too,” Crews-Dezurn acknowledged emphatically. “I’m a boss, she’s a boss. I don’t hate something; I don’t envy something. I’m able to doing my very own factor and I’m in my very own lane. She will’t do what I do, and I can’t do what she does. I’m very comfy in my pores and skin, put it that manner.”
Crews-Dezurn does, nonetheless, crave the star energy that Shields has amassed after successful her two Olympic gold medals and a professional profession that has been strategically pushed by former HBO Boxing head honcho Mark Taffet.
“I battle with that rather a lot,” Crews-Dezurn admitted. “Truthfully if I had an enormous PR push or if I had a much bigger workforce behind me, I’d be one of many prime feminine athletes on this planet, however I’m nonetheless grateful to be recognized or any individual talks to me. It’s all in due time.”
She is making strides in that enviornment, although, as she lately signed with top-of-the-line managers within the sport and a candidate for Boxing Writers Affiliation of America Supervisor of the 12 months.
“I simply signed a partnership with Peter Kahn,” Crews-Dezurn revealed. “We simply began and it’s very, very new. He has a background in music, and he will get it. He sees what I see. We’re formulating our plan and feeling one another out and placing some stuff collectively to see what can actually be executed. As a result of he will get it and now it’s are you able to execute.”
Now with Kahn in her nook, Crews-Dezurn is able to take her profession to the following degree and never simply within the ring as she nonetheless has music enjoying in her head together with different lofty objectives.
“I do love boxing and there are such a lot of singers on the market, however they will’t field,” Crews-Dezurn stated. “There are such a lot of boxers on the market, however they will’t sing. They aren’t fluent in style.
“I really feel like if I may aspire my profession to be like, that is the place I’m going now at this stage of my life, consider Jamie Foxx, consider a Will Smith, consider a Queen Latifah, consider a Cher, these are large sneakers to fill, however that’s the place I see myself being, in entrance of the digital camera or behind the digital camera. I simply need to stay my full potential and never be restricted.”
Crews-Dezurn continued to elucidate what makes her, maybe, probably the most distinctive fighter within the sport.
“I’m not in a field, I really feel prefer it’s simply who I’m. These are all genuinely what I do, it’s not like I’m generic, hey you possibly can sing a bit bit we should always make you a star, no that is what I like to do. When you put me in a studio, should you give me a beat, I may write you a track in like 20 minutes or much less. I may go in a sales space, I can sing it, I may organize it, I may do background vocals. I can inform you to sing it and what I need to hear. It’s actually real and genuine with me.”
Crews-Dezurn has skilled fairly a bit in solely seven professional fights, however nothing like what occurred when she squared off in opposition to Alejandra Jimenez on January 11, 2020, on the Alamodome in San Antonio along with her WBC and WBO belts on the road.
Jimenez was declared the winner in a heated cut up resolution affair however was quickly declared a “no resolution” a pair weeks later after it was revealed she failed the pre- and post-fight drug check.
Though Crews-Dezurn stored her titles after the ruling, these had been darkish days for the then 32-year-old. She opened up about that evening within the ring and the feelings that quickly adopted and the way she recovered to grow to be even stronger mentally.
“Once you’re a risk, individuals are both fearful of you and a scared man is a harmful man and I do know that her and her workforce had been afraid of me, as a result of I’m an excellent fighter and I’m robust, I’m an actual fighter,” acknowledged Crews-Dezurn. “They took a complete 12 months to drug up and do what they needed to do to beat me and I believed I nonetheless gained the struggle on factors. It was an eye fixed opener. I’m blessed that I’m fluent within the sport and I do know boxing and I do know what I may do as a result of should you have a look at the struggle on TV and I used to be within the nook confused as one thing was not proper.
“What the f*okay is happening. Actually that’s what I’d say within the nook, am I doing one thing unsuitable, as a result of I take delight in being a fighter that may modify on the fly. I’ve a beautiful nook, my husband, Barry Hunter and Boog and have a fantastic factor happening. I attempted to remain targeted in the course of the struggle and made it by way of and issues didn’t actually hit me. Even after I obtained the choice that I misplaced; I nonetheless in my coronary heart felt like I gained.”
“Issues didn’t actually hit me till like 3 weeks later, particularly when it got here to mild that she really did cheat. I used to be like, I may have died. That was rather a lot on me. I believe I sort of blocked out all my emotions and feelings to get by way of dropping my championship, every thing I labored for. I had my hair scenario. It was only a lot and when every thing got here to mild, when these feelings got here, that was one other half I needed to undergo. It made me stronger and I’m grateful to the followers and the media who backed me and that basically helped me get by way of. I’m nonetheless bothered over it.”
She was additionally decided to not let dropping the wig get in the way in which of her need to win.
“Pay attention when that wig got here off, if we had two extra rounds, you’ll have seen the most effective of me,” Crews-Dezurn declared. “You don’t know the way robust you might be till you don’t have any alternative. I really feel extra highly effective since that scenario occurred.
“I’m completely satisfied that any individual on the market that noticed my battle and it impressed them to f*okay the hair, go for the belt, go on your objectives. I simply didn’t need to go house empty handed. I didn’t need to return to the place I come from, it was an empowering second for me.”
Will probably be virtually a full 12 months for the reason that debacle with Jimenez, when Crews-Dezurn faces veteran Ashlee Curry this Saturday evening on the American Airways Middle in Dallas.
“After I see that [record], I see expertise,” she acknowledged concerning Curry’s upside-down document. “When it’s lopsided and other people say she’s obtained a dropping document, I see expertise. I see any individual who’s sturdy and I see any individual who has been round. I’m simply making ready the easiest way that I can and together with my nook adapt as I’m going.
“I do know she has fought another tremendous middleweights like Savannah Marshall, she fought Raquel Miller, so she’s obtained some notable names on her document. I don’t know the way folks will really feel about it, however on the finish of the day, I’ve fought nice fighters out of the gate, let me be nice.”
She has her gameplan all set for Curry.
“I’m going to show my boxing, as a result of lots of people suppose I simply get in there and begin slugging and don’t know what I’m doing, however only a robust fighter,” she confessed about her combating type. “I’ve a extremely excessive boxing IQ and can simply show that aspect of me, as a result of I don’t get credit score for boxing interval. I’m going to do what I do and what I’m alleged to do as a champion and an excellent fighter.”
If every thing goes as deliberate in opposition to Curry, she is already waiting for unifying the division and even greater objectives forward.
“It is a non-title struggle, after this one, I hope to do a unification with the undefeated Elin Cederroos out of Sweden, proprietor of the IBF and WBA belts,” stated Crews-Dezurn. “I additionally know that Christina Hammer grew to become my WBC necessary, however I would like this unification struggle.
“Additionally, I need to make historical past and be undisputed. I need to be a part of that class. I would like the massive names. I’ve sacrificed a lot, being a mother, residing and having different experiences, so whereas I’m right here I need to do it large. I would like undisputed. I need to presumably transfer to a different weight class. I simply need to be nice.”
And to assist her be nice, Crews-Dezurn has her husband, Glenn, to lean on, additionally a reasonably good boxer in his personal proper with a document of 12-2-1, 8 KOs.
“My husband is a pupil of the sport,” stated Crews-Dezurn. “He makes me watch these items. As I acknowledged earlier than I sort of fell into boxing, I simply knew just like the mainstream ones.
“However when he tells me the tales, we undergo issues, so after all I really like B-Hop, now we have a variety of comparable tales, being self-managed and never becoming into the mildew and making folks respect us and sitting down and talking with him my respect for him multiplied.”
“You could have Sugar Ray Robinson, these older fighters and what they needed to undergo to get to the place they had been,” Crews-Dezurn continued. “I like a number of the new youngsters too as we grew up within the amateurs, so after all I’m going to observe and help them.”
“However I actually love the older fighters due to their character, they usually didn’t have social media they usually had that one outdated individual that believed in them,” Crews-Dezurn chuckled as if she was describing her personal destiny. “It was actually a rags to riches story. I’m a fan of Mike Tyson after all and Candy Pea is the place I’m from and I identical to the character of the older fighters.
“I’m simply so blessed from all of the experiences boxing has introduced me from really assembly these legends and the very fact I can hear these historic tales from their mouth. I’ve met so many legendary boxers over time and like wow, that is what it’s about.”
She wouldn’t thoughts see her outdated nemesis and now revered foe throughout the ring once more down the highway for a lot greater stakes if the chance arises.
“I believe that door is all the time open, as a result of it was simply an epic struggle,” Crews-Dezurn stated on the prospects of combating Shields once more. “She’s so aggressive. And I believe the followers appreciated what we did, as a result of it was greater than ‘she’s going professional, she’s going to win’.
“That was actually for girls’s boxing. She’s a tricky woman, however that’s most likely not the kind of struggle she wished for her first struggle. The followers appreciated it, however I believe if we do it once more, it’s going to be for us. We’ll be compensated for it; we’re going to have a fantastic construct as much as it. It’s going to be an excellent closing for our legacy.”
If all goes as deliberate and one other struggle with Shields involves fruition down the highway, Crews-Dezurn will probably not be cruising by way of a luxurious Los Angeles resort unscathed this time, as she can have undoubtedly reached the “star” standing she seeks, however on her phrases and in probably the most trustworthy and pure manner doable.
“I’m an actual humble particular person due to what I’ve been by way of. I’m simply completely satisfied to have my well being, be in a heat house, have meals in my abdomen,” Crews-Dezurn shared with gratitude in her voice. “And completely satisfied to have a job.”