Super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn returns to the ring on Saturday, Jan. 2. She possesses a rare optimism and work ethic that fuels her.
There’s nothing ordinary about boxer Franchon Crews-Dezurn. The WBC and WBO super middleweight champion gets her first boxing action of 2021 against Ashleigh Curry on the undercard of Ryan Garcia vs. Luke Campbell on Saturday, Jan. 2. What Crews-Dezurn has accomplished is quite amazing, especially since her introduction to boxing came about matter of factly.
Crews-Dezurn (6-1, 2 KOs) described her first boxing experience with The Baltimore Sun in 2018. She recounted how she started boxing to lose weight to further aid her in advancing her dream of becoming a professional singer.
Even before Crews-Dezurn first step foot in a boxing gym, she had real-life experience as a fighter.
“I always been a fighter,” Crews-Dezurn told FanSided. “I was a tomboy, all brothers, and I used to fight boys and girls. So fighting wasn’t new to me, but to actually pursue boxing was.”
Crews-Dezurn first entered a boxing gym as a 15-year-old. It didn’t take long before she fell in love with the sweet science.
“It was very stinky when I went in the gym, and I actually, I think I sparred the first day,” recalled Crews-Dezurn. “I’m old school, and that’s how they used to do them. You come to the gym, they throw you in a ring, and if you could fight, you could fight. They got to see some kind of potential. So they put me in with this guy named James Barry, and the rest was history.”
Crews-Dezurn showed immediate talent as a boxer. She won her first national tournament early into her amateur boxing campaign in 2005. She had a passion for the sport and worked hard at her craft out of pure enjoyment. Crews-Dezurn never thought she could monopolize her amateur boxing success into a professional career.
“I never had aspirations to go pro,” said Crews-Dezurn. “I basically was raised on the elite level. I’ve always been on a team in some sort of way. As I progressed, I became like an ambassador. I became an advocate. I’m the one who got, you know, women paid for their medals and helping us, you know, to get stipends.”
Franchon Crews-Dezurn embodies a boxing passion seldomly seen in most fighters
Crews-Dezurn fought for over 11 years as an amateur boxer. She loved the sport. Outside of the ring, she struggled while pursuing her passion, and life got ugly at times.
“I worked three jobs, and I was in school, and I was taking care of my sick mother,” explained Crews-Dezurn. “She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2005, as well. So it was just working three jobs. You know, when, when women started getting paid, stipends probably like, around 2011, maybe. That was a little bit, but I struggled. I struggled a lot, but prayer and just staying focused and working hard got me through.”
Crews-Dezurn’s work ethic carried her through hard times. She didn’t know where her journey would take her, but she believed that if she worked hard and was a good person, things would work out, and she was right.
In 2016, while sitting on the couch with her husband and fellow boxer Glenn Dezurn, Crews-Dezurn received a phone call from a former amateur opponent and at times training partner Claressa Shield’s manager about a professional fight.
Well, I got a phone call from Claressa’s manager about debuting against her. They said like at least 18 girls turned it down, and I was just like, I don’t know, sitting on the couch with my husband, I’m like, what? This is crazy, like, should I? Cause my husband, he’s a student at a game. He could tell you everything about boxing, and he was already a professional. So I had a little experience with him, and when it was propositioned to me, I just said, you know what? Because I’ve been through so much with the amateurs, good, bad, and ugly, I was looking for something new also. So I said, Hey, what’s, what’s better than to be on a big stage with another talent and making history, you know?
Crews-Dezurn fought 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields in November of 2016. She lost a competitive unanimous decision, but that only deepened Crews-Dezurn’s desire to succeed as a professional boxer. She’s a world champion today, and her loss to Shields is the only blemish on her professional record.
There’s been talk of a rematch between Crews-Dezurn and Shields, but that’s not Crews-Dezurn’s focus at the moment. Shields is pursuing a path as an MMA fighter at the moment, and Crews-Dezurn’s primary goal is to become the undisputed super middleweight champion. Her main target heading into 2021 is Sweden’s Elin Cederroos, who has the WBA and IBF titles.
“It’s not a hard fight to make,” said Crews-Dezurn of a potential fight with Cederroos. “And you know, I have a network. I have a platform. Not a hard fight to make.”
As we head into the new year, everyone is optimistic about achieving their dreams. Crews-Dezurn is no different and is on the precipice of new heights as a boxer.
You can watch Franchon Crews-Dezurn vs. Ashleigh Curry on Saturday, Jan. 2, exclusively on DAZN. Undercard coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET.