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Donyil Livingston gets another chance to shine

By Gabriel Montoya

Tonight at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, CA, former standout amateur and now fledgling middleweight pro DonYil Livingston, 4-0, 2KOs, returns to the ring against Cameron Allen as part of the Friday Night Fights card. Though Livingston is unsure whether or not he his swing bout is going to make the televised portion, one thing is for sure, he is a long way away from last year when he was looking and hoping for fights but having no luck getting them. Now under new promoter Boxing360 out of New York who he signed with earlier this year, Livingston is enjoying a steady stream of fights. This will be his third of the year and definitely not his last.


I spoke with him earlier this week and at the time, he only knew he might be facing Allen. What he knew of him was little but for Livingston, it is all about being prepared for whatever whenever.


“We have an idea what style he has. He is out of Michigan. He has ten fights as a pro,” said Livingston of the 3-7 with 1 KO Allen. “We know he was a kickboxer. We couldn’t find any boxing footage on him. We’re just training like this is for a world title. We worked on a lot of things from our previous fight that I believe we are capitalizing on. We’re just excited about the fight.”


Can Dirrell, who’s never been past the seventh round, meet or surpas his brother Andre’s achievements and win a world title?  Perhaps, but we won’t get any closer to knowing that from tonight’s performance.

Joseph Elegele (12-0, 10 KO) vs. Aaron Martinez(14-1-1, 3 KO)
Welterweights (147 lb.)
Prediction: Elegele by TKO

Martinez is a very credible sub to replace Lanard Lane in this bout, much better on paper than the headliner.  Elegele’s stopped seven in a row, but against fairly shaky opposition.  Even as a sub, East L.A.’s Martinez will probably represent a nice step up in competition for teh Floridian.

Friday, July 22 in Tuscon, Ariz. (Telefutura):

Christopher Martin (22-0-2, 6 KO) vs. Jose Silviera (12-3, 4 KO)
Junior featherweights (122 lb.)
Prediction: Martin by decision

Martin made something of a name for himself by upsetting prospect Chris Avalos in a nationally-televised bout last year.  The tough Charles Huerta made him work for a decision a couple months ago, as may Silveira, who’s snagged a couple minor belts (IBA and NABA) in the past couple years.

It’s Silveira’s first outing in the U.S., so he’s an unknown commodity here, but a win for him would amount to quite an upset and would gain him recognition within boxing circles.

Saturday, July 23 in at Wembley Stadium in London (PPV):

Tyson Fury (14-0, 10 KO) vs. Dereck Chisora (14-0, 9 KO)
British Heavyweight (201+ lb.) Title
Prediction: Fury by KO

This is apparently a big deal in the U.K., it being contested at Wembley Stadium, and why not?  It’s a heavyweight showdown of local, undefeated contenders, maybe one or both of whom can become somebody.  Say what you will about this one, but wouldn’t it be cool to see Chris Arreola face Seth Mitchell over here?  (I had to think about two young American heavyweights for way too long before coming up with them.)

If Chisora can get inside on the 6’9" Fury, he might bust him up, as he did last year against fellow Brit Dannie Williams.  The guess here is it won’t happen, or at least won’t happen enough.

Fury has over seven inches on Chisora, and that should prove the difference.  He’ll keep him on the end of his punches and wear him down, eventually flattening him in the middle or perhaps late rounds.

Saturday, July 23 in Las Vegas (HBO):

WBA Champ Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KO) vs. IBF Champ Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO)
Junior welterweights (140 lb.)
Prediction: Khan by decision

Even though he has a shaky chin and isn’t the toughest guy out there, you gotta go with the one with tons of talent and athleticism.  Oh wait, that could be both of them.  Hmm....

Whatever else is said, Khan’s the big favorite, and a Judah upset would be absolutely huge for his career and (gulp) legacy.  And sure, he’s not exactly Evander Holyfield down the stretch, but Amir Khan won’t be punishing him like Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey did.

Though he’s trained now by Pernell Whitaker, Judah would do well to call upon another Hall of Famer in this outing, Ray Leonard (not that he’s within a galaxy of them).   Think Leonard-Hearns I, when Leonard was forced by the taller boxer 1-2s to become a brawler.  He got inside on Hearns and laid into him, because that was the only way he could beat him.  Same for Judah.

Don’t count on it.  You many not want Khan next to you in a back alley fight, but he’s a helluva boxer, having dominated very good boxers like Andres Kotelnik and Paulie Malignaggi.  Unless Judah throws caution to the wind, and maybe even if he does, expect Khan to win a clear decision.

At age 27, though he has an excellent amateur background, Livingston has a lot of ground to cover as a pro in a short time. Time is of the essence and as such, mistakes will be made and hopefully learned from quickly. In his last fight back in May, Livingston went the distance with Loren Myers. Down in the first round, Myers was able to survive the fight and in the process give Livingston valuable rounds. Livingston looked solid early on but after the first couple rounds, he began to give ground, leaving the center ring and letting Myers gain some confidence by going to the ropes.


“I learned a lot,” said Livingston of the Myers fight. “It was great to get the victory. I mean, ultimately that is what we want to have happen. But me as a fighter, me being my best critic, I started out strong and then I started boxing the guy at the end. I didn’t get tired or anything I just  . . . that is one of the transitions I have to make from the amateurs to the pros. In the amateurs, with me being the smaller guy all the time I had to use my lateral foot movement and things like that which is good. But in the pros, I can still have the same movement and boxing ability but not waste as much energy; boxing inside the pocket as opposed to boxing outside the pocket, coming back in the pocket, outside the pocket back in the pocket. Wasting movement, wasting too much time is something we feel we have the opportunity to capitalize on going out of that last fight into this one.”


At this point in his career, it is all about breaking down the mistakes of the previous fight and implementing corrections in the gym. Unfortunately for Livingston, tape of his fights has been hard to come by so he relies instead on the old fashioned way: listening to his trainer and trusting what he sees.


“I just believe in my corner,” said Livingston. “I believe in everything they tell me. While I am in there as a fighter there are a lot of things that will see that I won’t see. There are a lot of mistakes that I feel that I make in fights that I notice I made and they notice I made. We don’t so much praise the things that were right because we prepared for those things. We go back and focus on the things that I did that was wrong and we work on that and go from there. Eventually down the line it will all come together and we will be in the perfect position when we go for a world title.”


This is the second televised card Livingston will be a part of while not being assured a TV appearance. Not a huge deal for a 4-0 fighter. It takes time to get on TV and get some notice. Livingston feels it is a matter of time for him.  


“Our ultimate goal whether it is ESPN, HBO, or Showtime is we want to get to the point where we are fighting world class top notch fighters,” he said, “so we get the opportunity to broadcast our skills, our talent to the world.”


For each fight, Livingston sets a goal. For this one it is very simple: steal the show.


“This guy we are fighting. We don’t know much about this guy. We just know he is getting in the square ring and he will be ready to battle,” Livingston told me. “My whole mission for this fight is to give a show. My objective is to steal the show completely. That is what we are looking forward to. We don’t want to just become a name or a household name. We want to become a worldwide name. If we do the things we are supposed to do, hands down we will steal the show.”


With the clock ticking and a chance to prove himself in front of the ESPN crew, Livingston says he feels no pressure. This is his work. While nerves are part of it, being prepared is the rest of it. Time will tell if he is able to get where he wants to go but for now, all he wants is a chance to show what he can do. Tonight he gets another.


“There’s no pressure there. I have had opportunities to perform [under pressure in the amateurs.] But this is still a growing and a learning experience in which I have had the learning experience to perform in front of a big audience,” said Livingston. “Pressure? With anybody you are going to feel a little pressure. I think it comes down to how you deal with that pressure. I’m going to use the pressure that is potentially going to be there to capitalize on every opportunity that I have. As you mentioned, I’m older. I don’t have as much time as these young guys coming up but I have a lot of experience going from the amateurs going into the pros. I don’t think we need to take small steps. I feel that it’s world championship time real soon.”


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