Contributed by Mike Mills-CityofSports Blogger
If you’ve opened the sports page of the Ft. Myers News Press anytime over the last 10 years, chances are you’ve seen Marcus Willis’s face. He grew up in a boxing ring inside of the gym at the STARS complex, and his accomplishments throughout his stellar amateur career and budding professional career have been read and admire by many. Dunbar High School is where I first met Marcus when we entered the school as 9th graders, and a friendship was built and has lasted still to this day.
On Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel in Tampa, Marcus (won 5 (KO 2) + lost 1 (KO 0) + drawn 2) will be fighting his 9th professional bout in the “Ballroom Brawl” against Gerald Johnson (won 7 (KO 5) + lost 2 (KO 1) + drawn 1). I got a chance to catch up with “Magic” Marcus during a break in training, and here’s what went down:
CoS: What was your amateur record and achievements?
MW: 107-18, 26x state champ, 8x S.E. Regional champ, 2004 under 19 national silver medalist, 2006 golden glove bronze medalist, ranked nationally in top 10 from 2004-2008
CoS: That’s beyond impressive. You’re fighting in the Ballroom Brawl on the 12th. How do I get tickets?
MW: You can search “ballroom brawl” on ticketmaster.com, call 813-503-8109 or just buy them at the door.
CoS: What weight are you fighting at?
MW: a catch weight at 152.
CoS: Do you do anything special leading up to the fight to prepare yourself?
MW: Not really, just pray a little more.
CoS: What gym do you train at?
MW: the Ft. Myers Police Athletic League and Fight Zone.
CoS: How many hours a day do you spend in the gym leading up to a fight versus just staying in shape?
MW: Well, I’m always in the gym. I’m somewhat of a gym rat, I can’t stay away for too long. Sometimes I find myself in the gym like all day anywhere from 3 to 7 hours in preparation for a fight. When I’m just staying in shape I’ll train on average an hour and a half to 2 hours.
CoS: Do you watch film of your opponent?
MW: Because of my career is at its starting ages its really not much video out there of opponents. If I find something, I’ll watch maybe once or twice to check for habits. I let my dad/trainer do the opponent studying.
CoS: What do you feel the benefits of having your dad as a trainer?
MW: He’s known me and my habits and how to get in my head all my life, and. I’m not going to find another trainer that’s going to care about my well being more than my dad. It’s a chemistry that we’ve built. It’s not always smooth, but what is? We’ve always got the job done.
CoS: Do you go in to a fight with a game plan or adapt to what your opponent is doing or how you’re feeling on fight night?
MW: my game plan is always to establish my jab and control the fight. I don’t really read much into having a game plan. Once you’re in the ring and the adrenaline is flowing, some things change, but if it’s something that we have trained and worked on constantly in the gym it will come naturally.
CoS: What do you feel is your best asset as a boxer?
MW: My determination, hard work and dedication. I have a lot of God given abilities, but if I didn’t work hard those wouldn’t produce the way God meant for it.
CoS: Who are some of the people you have sparred with that a lot of people would recognize?
MW: Winky Wright, Andre Berto, Kasim Ouma, and Nate Campbell are the biggest names that I’ve sparred, all world champions.
CoS: Wow! That’s quite the line up. What did those people tell you about your future in boxing?
MW: They feel if I continue to put the hard work that I have been putting in I have a bright future ahead of me. Actually, Nate Campbell is my manager.
CoS: What is your prediction for the fight on the 12th?
MW: A knockout is how I want it to end, regardless a great fight.
CoS: What can we expect from you in the future?
MW: Hopefully some championship fights down the line. Definitely some entertaining crowd pleasing fights. Beyond the sky is the limit…nah there is no limit.