Ja’Rico O’Quinn to face David Martino tonight in Detroit

By Michael Woods

That a promoter is making so regular and effective a commitment to pro boxing in Detroit is most meaningful, from the perspective that the city can use every such outlet and opportunity ladder available.

You can buy a house there for $12,000, as it is yet another one of those American cities scrambling to find an identity as shifts in production methods and the economy,as a whole, have made citizens and leaders there adapt to new realities.

Fighters, they adapt. They need to, inevitably, even if they are the favorites, the “better” guys on paper. So, a man like bantamweight Ja’Rico O’Quinn (6-0, 5 knockouts) – who fights on a Detroit show promoted by Brooklyner Dmitriy Salita and topped by Claressa Shields tonight – has already had to adapt and battle in his 22 years on Earth…so boxing seems to be a vocation that fits him now.

“Growing up was rough. I mean, I’m from Detroit; that explains a lot right there,” said the youngster, who has a sister and a brother Robert, who also boxes. “If you ask anybody from the ‘D,’ they’ll tell you…I had to get things by any means. We’ll go into the details when the documentary comes out! Nothing was given; I had to boss up as a kid. Everything had to be worked or got the hard way. My parents have always been in my life but we weren’t the most fortunate. We struggle like most Detroit families…probably had it a little worse than others, too. My dad taught me how to be a man, hustle and make my way out of it.”

I hammer the theme again but I so believe in it. Boxing was there to welcome him when so little else did…

“I started boxing in 2009. I was ranked number one in the country by 2011. I had an extensive amateur background with about 140 fights, I went to six or seven tournaments and was number one numerous times in the rankings. I was on the USA team traveling country to country, repping the USA.”

He repeats another theme we see all the time. When asked how and why he started boxing, O’Quinn relates it is because he had a fighting spirit. “I started boxing honestly because my temper and I liked to fight,” O’Quinn said. “I was fighting in school and the streets, messing around, gang-banging. I was playing basketball but I kept getting into it with people because my temper! Then I was getting into it with coach and I quit because I felt he was disrespecting me. I just wanted to fight all the time! A boxing gym was at this rec center near my house and I ended up getting involved with them and I have been fighting in the ring ever since!”

O’Quinn seems to be trending nicely under promoter Dmitriy Salita; he beat a 13-4 guy, Szilveszter Kanalas, last time out and meets David Martino (2-2, 2 KOs) tonight at the Masonic Temple, his fifth tango at that site. He has solid hand speed, counters smartly, is flashy, with a smile to match his ring pizzazz and he likes to go for the finish when he smells blood. So…where does O’Quinn think he will be when we check back in, in about two years? “Two years, with the right moves and smart career decisions, I’ll be more developed as a pro, probably defending my world titles, WBA and IBF! Whoever has ‘em! It don’t matter. When the time is right and when it makes sense for my career, everybody is gonna get it!”

“When the time is right and when it makes sense for my career, everybody is gonna get it!” Michael Woods thought silently to himself, as he looked into the mirror before sitting down to kick off his writing day. The thought of making a classic heel turn always sounded to Woodsy but there aren’t enough stinky boxing writers in Brooklyn who deserve a good talking-to. Ah, well…maybe next week.

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Source:: The Ring – Boxing