Tony Hirsch won a Gold Medal at the 2006 San Francisco Golden Gloves competition. He turned professional in 2007. Over the past six years, Hirsch has engaged in 19 pro fights, winning 14 of them. He's been in the ring with the likes of Dmitry Chudinov, Shawn Estrada, and Demetrius Andrade.
All are highly ranked and undefeated fighters.
Hirsch is also one of the sparring partners of number two, pound-for-pound, super middleweight champion Andre Ward.
“Andre is like my big brother in the boxing world,” Hirsch told this writer on the phone a few days ago. “He taught me all kinds of things about boxing. He showed that you can hit the speed bag, but you don’t learn until you get into the ring.
“It’s hard to work on things when you’re sparring with Andre because he’s so good. I’d see certain things that he does and then after we’d get done sparring, he’d explain it to me.” Hirsch added.
On August 17 at the Mark C. Marin Center in State Thomas, Virgin Islands, Hirsch will face his toughest test. His opponent, John Jackson, scored 14 knockouts in 16 wins.
The bout is scheduled for eight rounds and will be contested in the super middleweight (168 pounds) division.
Hirsch has acquired a lot of knowledge over the past few years, and at 29, the Oakland, CA. resident feels his career is on the right path.
“It’s time. I’m not getting any younger,” Hirsch said. “I feel like I have all the experience fighting some of the top guys. It’s the right time for me.”
Though grateful for all the help Ward has given him, Hirsch is wary of being labeled a sparring partner. He’s anxious to show his own boxing ability.
“I’m a quality fighter," said Hirsch. "A lot of guys when they get the call, they go out there and spar. If you go in there with a sparring man’s mentality, that’s how you’re going to fight. It’s already in your head.
"That’s not me. When I spar with Andre Ward, I’m trying to get better. I’m working on my game," he said.
"On August 17, I’m going to show it – it’s going to come out."
Jackson, 24, won his first eight fights by knockout. His single loss was to Willie Nelson last year. He’s also the son of former three-time titleholder, Julian Jackson. Hirsch has studied Jackson’s style.
“I watched a couple of his fights,” Hirsch said. “I know he likes to loop his right hand. I have to be cautious of that. I don’t really see a big difference between me and him in regards to ability.
“A lot people probably think that, but I don’t see it,” Hirsch added.
Hirsch has been working very hard with trainers Robert Garcia and Charles King. Though mindful that his fight with Jackson is the biggest of his career, Hirsch has stuck to his routine.
“I’m just going to get the ring and do my thing,” said Hirsch. ”Everybody has a game plan until they get hit. I’m just going to be me. I’ve never fought in the Virgin Islands.
“Hopefully I can go over there and win the fight," he said. "I just hope they give me a fair shot.”
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