PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             June 12, 2013


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by John DiSanto


Shuler Gym featherweight Antonio Dubose makes his long-awaited professional debut on Saturday at the Valley Forge Casino. As an amateur, Dubose won the PA Golden Gloves and Philadelphia PAL titles. However most who observed Dubose in the amateurs wondered how he might fare as a pro. Some amateurs fight with a style that requires major adjustments before they can click as a pro. This does not appear to be the case with Dubose, who's fighting technique has always seemed better suited for the pro ranks.

On Saturday, the wait to see Antonio in a professional bout will be over. Dubose turns pro in a four round fight against John Portillo of Lancaster, PA. Both fighters will be making their pro debut. 

"A lot of people wanted me to turn," Dubose said. "But I wasn't ready."

The 24 year old boxer resisted the pressure to go pro since last year, wanting more experience under his belt before making the transition. He also wanted to capture a National Championship before ending his amateur run.

In 2012, he made it to three National tournaments (Golden Gloves, USA & PAL), but failed to bring home any of those titles.

This year Dubose earned a spot in the USA National Championships in Spokane, WA, but a travel foul-up forced him to miss the tournament altogether. The incident convinced him that the time was right to turn professional.

"I feel good," Dubose said. "I can't wait. I'm ready now."

When Dubose enters the ring Saturday night in Valley Forge, he'll have his Shuler Gym family in the crowd, as well as two team members in his corner. Antonio's two amateur trainers, former world champ Robert "Bam Bam" Hines and Shuler Gym head, Percy "Buster" Custus, will be his chief seconds. They have been training Dubose for years. 

Co-trainer Robert "Bam Bam" Hines

Co-trainer Percy "Buster" Custus

Philadelphia has been on a roll recently, with a number of top amateurs stepping up to the pros. In 2011, Miguel Cartagena (now 7-0) turned professional. The following year, Jesse Hart (7-0) and Anthony Burgin (4-0) both made the transition. This year Damon Allen (1-0) and Emmanuel Folly (1-0) joined them, followed by Dubose on Saturday.

The future of Philly's boxing tradition is in good hands with this crop of standouts leading the way for the next generation of Philly fighters, and Antonio Dubose figures to be an important part of it all.




John DiSanto - West Philly - June 12, 2013