Some amateur fighters have a
professional style possibly due to so much sparring with
professionals. This is the case many times in Philadelphia. In
doing an interview with former IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd
who sparred with Hanks he said “Joe Hanks is probably the best
young American boxer out there”. To that Hanks said “I wish
Chris would stop putting that out there for I have problems getting
opponents,” laughed Hanks.
Not having seen Hanks I started
checking around and watching him on YouTube.
I noticed on his trunks the names “Duke, Jr.” and “Jersey
Joe”. “My dad was Duke who has since passed and being an admirer
of the former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott is the
reason for Jersey Joe,” said Hanks.
Funny thing is, he reminded me of a
young Timmy Witherspoon. Good jab, good movement for a big man.
Through his agent/advisor Michael Borao I was able to contact Hanks
though raised in Newark, NJ, is now living in L.A. I found him
rather easy to talk to.
Hanks is 6:04 and in his last fight in
December came in at 249. I asked him why people claim he is a small
heavyweight? “I don’t know why they say that for you can see by
my last fight how much I weighed,” said Hanks. Brick City writer
Danny Serratelli who has watched Hanks since the amateurs said, “He’s
a really good kid. I have known Joe since we trained together at
Gladiators Gym in NJ years ago when he was in the amateurs. The gym
was unique because they had a good team of amateurs who pushed each
other. Since that time it seems Joe’s professionalism and work
ethic have paid off and I look forward to watching him make some
noise in the heavyweight division as one of the top American
prospects in 2012”. Hanks is 18-0 with 12 knockouts having
turned professional in December of 2007 on a DiBella Entertainment
card in the Bronx stopping Joe Rabotte in 2 rounds. In going over
his record 8 of his first 15 opponents haven’t fought since his
defeating them. In addition to this 2 of his 3 opponents in 2011
haven’t fought since either. One, Terrell “The Baby Bull”
Nelson, 8-11, couldn’t come out for the fifth round back in April.
After that, possibly Hanks biggest win was defeating Alfredo
Escalera, Jr., 18-3-1, winning all 10 rounds on the judge’s
scorecards. That was the first fight back east for Hanks since May
of 2008. “I went from a 6 to a 10 rounder for the Escarlera fight
and recently went down to NC to have a keep busy fight stopping
Franklin Edmondson on December 3rd,” said Hanks. Next
up will be in February 10th at the Mohegan Sun Csino, in
Uncasville, CT. This will be another 10 rounder for Star Boxing with
whom he had his first fight in April against Nelson. No opponent has
been named yet by matchmaker Ron Katz.
Hanks makes it clear “I am from
Newark, NJ!” He moved to L.A. 3 years ago. His trainer from the
start has been Jamal Abdulah. “I only had about 25 amateur bouts
but have been sparring with professionals since my second amateur
fight,” said Hanks. Speaking of sparring the list is a long one
like former WBO title holder Sultan Ibragimov, Jamal McCline, Larry
Donald Malik Scott, Cedric Boswell, former IBF Cruiser champ Al “Ice”
Cole, Faruq Saleem, former IBO champ Siarhei Liakhovich and the
before mentioned Byrd.
“I sparred with Saleem (last fight in
2009 at 38-1) having only 2 amateur fights. We are both from Newark.
Also Al Cole helped me a lot in the beginning. I only had 6 amateur
fights when I sparred with Wladimir Klitschko,” said Hanks.
Hanks first big win was in his ninth
fight over Ashanti “The Boss” Jordan, who was 10-0. “I lost to
him in the amateurs so it was a feeling to beat him in the pro ranks”
said Hanks. That was in August of 2009 and Jordan has not fought
since. That is saying a lot for Jordan was one of the top prospects
in the country at the time.
In just Hanks fourth fight he was the
first to stop Leo Bercier, 5-7-1, who would go onto defeat Andres
Taylor, then 8-0-1. The referee rescued Bercier after taking 9
straight punches from Hanks without return in the first round.
Hanks stopped Alvaro Morales, 3-3-5, in
the first round in March of 2009. “Morales had a draw with Seth
Mitchell,” said Hanks. Mitchell is currently 24-0-1. Wins over
John Clark, 14-14-1 in October of 2009 by decision in 6 and knocking
out Mike Tyson look-a-like Cliff Couser, 26-20-2 in the first round
in February of 2010 put both of them on the inactive list since.
Defeating Hildo Silva, 4-0-2 and Anthony Gatt, 7-1-1, proved he
wasn’t beating up on bad record fighters. “I took the Gatt fight
5 days after knocking out Marcus Dickerson, (4-2-2),” said Hanks.
The Gatt win was followed by a 6 round
decision over Johnnie White, 22-2. That followed by stopping the
“Tongan Warrior” Villi Bloomfield, 9-5-1, in 4 rounds. I asked
Hanks about his Samoan War chant. He laughed saying “I have Samoan
friends who chant as I enter the ring in CA. Beating a Tongan like
Bloomfield made them happy and they made me an honorary Samoan”.
Of the 18 fights Hanks has had, 12 of them have been in CA. Only
since signing with Star has he come back east for his last 3 fights
after having his first 3 in the east when turning pro.
Hanks gave credit to his brother James
who got him back into boxing. Both brothers are electricians. He
also proclaimed that “I hope to be the heavyweight champion from
right here in America, God willing,” said Hanks.
Hanks has sparred many rounds with many
of the top heavyweights in the world. He has the kind of work ethic
that can take him to the top. Conditioning is a key in the
heavyweight division today so don’t be surprised if Joe “The
Future” Hanks is someday announced as the new heavyweight champion
of the world “Jersey” Joe Hanks! Make sure you check out the NEW and IMPROVED Doghouse Boxing Forums (Now Mobile, Ipad, Blackberry, Android & YouTube Friendly) DogPound