Eimantas Stanionis is making a reputation as a welterweight talent. A win over Thomas Dulorme could jump Stanionis from prospect to contender.
Eimantas Stanionis has spent his life fighting and is poised to break through into the upper echelon of boxing’s welterweight ranks.
At 26 years old, Stanionis looks youthful and has a demeanor of innocence outside of the ring. Inside, he’s a menacing stalker who probably gives his opponents nightmares after they’ve done battle.
Stanionis (12-0, 9 KOs) wears the battle scars of life well, but he has endured much throughout his young life.
During the early 90s, Lithuania was a country in flux. The country declared its independence on the brink of the fall of the Soviet Union. Today, Lithuania is in a good place in terms of its economy and liberty, but it endured tough times after its exit from the Soviet Union.
“It’s like it [Lithuania] was in back in the 90s was like, you know, like Russia,” Stanionis told FanSided. “Everything was wild, you know? We did whatever we want.”
Stanionis grew up in Kaunas, Lithuania, during that time period. As an adolescent, Stanionis had to fight early to get by. His home life was rough as well. According to his PBC biography, his mother, Aiste Dzidolikiene, was a single parent who her parents assisted after Stanionis’s father left the family when he was two years old.
His mother was a good parent, but Stanionis’s environment forced him to fight in the streets. His mother hoped to tame his combative disposition by taking him to an MMA gym when he was eight years old.
Stanionis excelled in kickboxing and MMA. When he was 15 years old, his mother’s friend took him to the boxing gym. Stanionis was dominating the MMA competition and wanted more of a challenge, which boxing proved to be.
“In MMA, I was winning all the time,” said Stanionis. “And I had like, no competition so that I didn’t have a hunger or drive. Then boxing was very hard for me.”
Stanionis struggled with boxing at first but grew determined to overcome his newest hurdle. It didn’t take much time for him to find his pace.
Eimantas Stanionis is part of the new wave of welterweights trying to push out the old guard.
“And then everything started, you know, like, after a couple of months, I become national champion,” said Stanionis. “So everything went very fast.”
As an amateur, Stanionis compiled a 141-19 record, which included a trip to the 2016 Olympic Games in Beijing. Stanionis turned professional in 2017 and has established himself in the U.S. as a prospect on the rise.
The secret to Stanionis’s success isn’t his brawn or physicality. It’s his mind and heart. The tribulations and eventual triumphs over his environment helped steel his resolve. His intelligence assisted his mastery of boxing technique.
While Stanionis boxed as an amateur through his Olympic run, he attended college, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Science. Managing his training along with his studies was a difficult task, but one that he’s grateful he accomplished.
“It was pretty hard, really hard,” admitted Stanionis. “Everybody knew that I’m preparing for Olympic Games. They gave me the time to go after Olympic Games to come back and finish [school.]”
For a while, Stanionis felt like school wasn’t for him. He was focused on fighting, and his grades fell behind for a period in time, but he found wisdom as he aged. When he neared 18 years old, he realized the value of an education.
“Then it’s different,” said Stanionis. “You’re growing. You’re like 18 years old, and you start realizing that it’s important.”
All of Stanionis’s accomplishments have brought him to the present. On Saturday, April 10, he fights dangerous veteran Thomas Dulorme. Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) lost a decision to Jamal James in August, but his experience and power always make him a threat.
Dulorme has been knocked out twice throughout his 13-year professional career. Terence Crawford stopped him last in 2015. Stanionis has a 75 percent KO rating and will put Dulorme’s chin to the test.
Stanionis is one of several young boxers storming up the welterweight division rankings. He sees his fight against Dulorme as an opportunity to prove his legitimacy.
“We have to be tested by the champions,” said Stanionis. “I think we want all these tests.”
So far, Stanionis has passed all of his tests in the ring with flying colors. Dulorme represents his next proving ground. Stanionis has taken all of life’s punches and walked out the other side a stronger person. He looks to do the same against Dulorme.
Watch Eimantas Stanionis vs. Thomas Dulorme on Saturday, April 10, on Showtime. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET.