By Sylvana Ambrosanio

04/25/13

Boxing trainer Marcellus Mitchell speaks to SylvanaBoxing about his training techniques, his relationship to Kronk Gym, his fighters, up and coming boxers you should keep an eye on and much much more:

SA: Marcellus, thanks for talking to SylvanaBoxing.com today. What are you up to?

MM: Thank you for having me, it’s truly a pleasure and an honor. Well I’m still training fighters. I’m currently trying to open a boxing gym out in Tacoma, WA so my Kronk family can have a place to hold a camp away from the hustle and bustle of Detroit City.

SA: How about we start off with you introducing yourself and perhaps telling us what you do and any projects you may have in the pipeline at the minute.

MM: Well my name is Marcellus Mitchell, born and raised in Detroit. My first boxing trainer was Boyd Gardner Sr. I got drawn to boxing while in High School. I went to St. Martin De Porres, where one of my class mates was Oba Carr and neighbourhood friends Boyd Gardner Jr and Kano (Kippie) Gardner. I later joined the military and was trained by Master Gunnery Sergeant Ted Hohney. I don’t feel I have arrived yet. I’m currently in the process of training up and coming heavyweight Chris Hancock from Detroit, 7-0 (3 ko's). I had the pleasure of producing a female champion, WIBA Americas Super Featherweight champion Melissa St. Vil. I’m still striving to be a top echelon trainer.

SA: When a young boxer first walks through your doors, what attributes do you first look for to see if there is potential?

MM: When a kid first walks through the door, what I look for personally is to see if he will listen and be willing to learn. I say that because you can have a grade A gladiator walk in there but if he or she will not listen to you, it’s like having a gun with no bullets. I think if you have a fighter that will listen to you, have a hard work ethic and heart, you have a potential champion. Prime example is Mickey Ward. A lot of people wrote him off early in his career but his heart, determination and work ethic would not let him be denied.

SA: In your opinion, how much natural skill does a young up and coming boxer need to possess and how much are you able to teach them?

MM: Some guys are born with natural talent, some have a little talent and some not too much at all. But what a fighter can learn in the gym will give him longevity in the game. I reference two of my favorite fighters - Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. Roy had god given gifts that made him superior but when father time tapped him on the shoulder, he started losing a step here and there, reflexes not as quick but B-Hop a sound technical fighter and at 48 years old still dismantling fighters.

SA: Your philosophy as a trainer?

MM: My philosophy, as a trainer to my fighters, is never leave the fight in the hand of the judges. Leave it in the ring!

SA: We often hear people talking about how much “heart” a boxer has. What does this term mean to you?

MM: Having heart is something that you must have when you walk through the door. Because in this sport it’s a constant gut check, heart check, nut check all types of checks! You gotta have your boots laced up tight to make it in this business.

SA: Is it possible that someone could skip the amateurs or have a fast-tracked stint and move straight into the pro game?

MM: I think an amateur back ground is very important to have as a boxer. I feel it’s your apprenticeship into the sport. Like any job you have to go to school to excel at your craft. Amateur boxing does just that.

SA: What is your relationship with the Kronk Gym?

MM: I’m just a trainer in the Kronk Family. Even though I moved on to open up another gym, I still have love for my Kronk Family.

SA: Kronk has many up and coming boxers…

MM: All Kronk fighters are special in their own way. They are bred to excel because of the competitive atmosphere at Kronk. I feel each should excel at their prospective weights.

SA: You knew Emanuel Steward. What can you tell our readers about Manny?

MM: Emanuel, wow, one hell of a man, trainer, mentor, friend. He was what veteran referee Joe Cortez always said, ‘Fair but Firm’. One of my most memorable moments was when he asked me to come by his house because I had a question about a promotional contract with a promoter. He said if I was getting my female fighter fights already without signing to him, and he’s not giving any signing bonus money, then what the hell you need him for. A real straight shooter. Just wish I had more time to learn from him.

SA: We hear about “old school boxing” quite a lot, what does this term mean to you?

MM: Old school boxing was genuine, rough and rugged. Basic boxing is what wins fights. So many fighters want to be flashy and ineffective. Too many boxers are running and not using a jab. Make the sweet science look like a hot mess.

Chris Hancock

SA: Can you tell us about some of the boxers that you are currently training?

MM: My biggest project at this point is heavyweight Chris Hancock 7-0 (3 kos). He shows some promise but only time will tell. With the help of me and his manager Mike Michaels, he should go far. I have a few amateurs that might break in the pros in a year or so. Just reunited with St. Louis sensation Antori Baker. Baker is an unorthodox style of fighter. Cat like reflexes and speed. His style is more fitted for pros than amateur anyway. My other amateurs include (Delvante "Baby D" Hampton out of Detroit, Danielle Bell out of Tacoma Wa.). I will move them accordingly but the list goes on. When fighters dealing with Kronk coaches they are getting a teacher of the sport.

SA: We hear people say that boxing is in decline. What are your thoughts on this?

MM: I personally feel boxing is being destroyed from within. For one, the fighters have to come to fight. The promoters have got to have competitive bouts. The judges have to call the fight the way it really is and not because a promoter is pushing a certain fighter. And this is my personally one. Start paying these female fighters what they are worth. I have had females fight on a card that stunk and stole the show. The Mary McGees, the Melissa Hernandezs, The Ava Knights - all these young ladys are champs but not getting their just due as far as the dollar amount.

SA: You have had the chance to travel around the world. Why is there typically such a contrast between the USA and European boxing styles?

MM: The European style is a basic style without the flash. Only a few fighters like David Haye, Carl Froch, Prince Naseem Hamed and a few others have incorporated the movement and flash to attract the US fan base. 

SA: If you could change one thing about the boxing world, what would it be?

MM: One thing I would change about the world of boxing is to take away all these unnecessary titles floating around.

SA: What fights are you looking forward to as a boxing fan?

MM: I’m interested to see who Floyd is going to pick to fight for his three year contract with Showtime. Is there that many people for him?

SA: Can you name a few up and coming prospects, amateur or pro, that you feel our readers should be paying close attention to?

MM: A boxing stand out to watch out for is Dominique "3D" Dolton. This kid is the total package. I mention him because he’s in line for a title shot and I feel he will win it.

As far as my other young lions, Anthony Barnes, Leandre White, Jacob & Joseph Bonas, Tony Harrison, Eric De Leon - they are going to shock the boxing world.

SA: Any final words or messages to the boxing fans?

MM: I appreciate you letting me contribute to this great boxing website. Keep your eye out on these two warriors – Chris "Mr Motor City" Hancock and Antori Baker. These are two guys who people feel are long shots but I’m a spoiler trainer. I train guys to come in and upset the fan favorite. We coming at the boxing world - Kronk family don’t die we multiply!