Darnell Boone: giving back to the sport he loves

By John J. Raspanti

At 36, Darnell Boone knows his days as a professional fighter are numbered. He’s toiled away for 12 years--in faraway places, and with the odds against him.

Boone has battled injuries, mediocre management, and lack of support in his corner.

But still he goes on, recently winning four of his last five matches.

In 2014, he stopped favored Dionisio Miranda. A few months ago he took on undefeated Phillip Jackson Benson in Pennsylvania. Boone was nothing more than an afterthought to Jackson Benson.

"I know he has fought everybody and he sneaks up on prospects," the cocky Jackson Benson told www.Philboxing.com,"To me that doesn’t matter. All I do is fight."

Boone starched Jackson Benson in Round six with a perfect right hand.


He’s done this before, ending the unbeaten winning streaks of Chris Archer, James Countryman, James Johnson, Willie Monroe, and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson.

Boone’s also the only fighter to knock former super middleweight champion, Andre Ward, to the canvas. He gave multiple titleholder Sergey Kovelov hell a few years ago, before losing by split decision.

Boone can fight. His record (23-22-4, 12 KOs) is wildly misleading. During most of his boxing life, Boone has rarely engaged in a complete training camp.

“I get a phone call and I go fight,” Boone told this writer on the phone a few years ago.
Boone has also been on the short end of at least a half dozen dubious verdicts.

Even with all the disappointments, he won’t point fingers.

“I’m not bitter about the bad decisions,” said Boone. “With boxing, you always get another chance. What keeps me in good spirits are the dedicated fans and my family.”

Maybe his upbeat attitude explains his desire to give back to the sport he loves. Recently, Boone, a Youngstown, Ohio native, moved to Florida. He began training at a fitness center.

While working out at the gym, Boone noticed some children sparring. Boxing equipment wasn’t plentiful.

Not even close.

“I was mainly worried about the fighters,” Boone said. “The kids needed new sparring gear. I mean the stuff they were sparring in, we had to tape it up to keep it held on. I promised my coach I would try to get new stuff for the fighters.”

Boone wasted no time creating an online fund to help the gym. A number of people donated, but he needed more.

Enter Allan Scotto, a resident of New Jersey and colleague of mine. Allan’s been around the boxing scene for years. He’s friends with former Trainer of the Year, Teddy Atlas. He told me he’d mention Boone’s fund and have Atlas give me a call.

I received a call from Atlas the next day.

Atlas listened intently as I explained what Boone and his gym in Florida were facing. He told me to email his foundation with all the pertinent information. I knew Atlas would help.

In 1997, Atlas had founded the Dr. Theodore Atlas Jr. Foundation to help children. The New York-based organization also gives financial and emotional support to numerous charities.

A few weeks later, I received a message from Boone. The Atlas Foundation was in the process of sending him a check to pay for the new boxing equipment.

Boone will be stepping back into the ring on March 12. He hopes to become a full-time trainer when he retires.

He likes to help people.

In this day and age, with all the anger and violence, the words “help” and “support” seem almost foreign.

Unless you’re Darnell Boone and Teddy Atlas, that is.



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