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Baltimore boxing champ Franchón Crews-Dezurn begins 'another chapter' with promoter Oscar De La Hoya

Baltimore boxing champ Franchón Crews-Dezurn begins 'another chapter' with promoter Oscar De La Hoya
Franchón Crews-Dezurn, World Boxing Council super middleweight champion, holds her belt under a portrait of her mother, Sarah Marie Crews, who died in December 2016. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

The future is continuing to look bright for Baltimore boxer Franchón Crews-Dezurn.

Crews-Dezurn is the reigning World Boxing Council super middleweight champion. She stopped Kayla Williams on Thursday night in the fifth round of a non-title bout at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., improving to 5-1 and winning her fifth straight bout since losing her debut. And she recently agreed to be represented by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

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“It’s another chapter in my journey,” she said. “To be with this company is very prestigious. They’re one of the biggest promotional companies in boxing. So I feel like they match my style.”

In an ironic twist, Crews-Dezurn’s road to the championship belt was made possible by Golden Boy Promotions, which reached out to Crews-Dezurn — nicknamed “The Heavy-Hitting Diva” — to fight the company’s Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo for the vacant WBC crown. After Crews-Dezurn beat Cornejo (13-3) by majority decision in 10 rounds Sept. 13, Golden Boy initiated talks with Crews-Dezurn and her team. Those negotiations resumed in January and intensified in April.

“I’ve always been very proactive in my career — behind the scenes and on the scene,” she said. “If you look at the first fight I took against Claressa Shields [in November 2016], she was fresh off of her second Olympic [gold] medal, and she had a lot of hype behind her. So, me taking that fight, that’s been my belief in what I can do. I just needed a platform.

“I’ve always been a top-talent fighter. I just needed a platform. So when I had an opportunity to fight their fighter and they ran my resume … they were like, ‘Whoa. OK, this girl is good.’ But I was still the underdog. But after the fight, they were interested, and the stars just aligned. I was in the right place at the right time.”

Crews-Dezurn, whose husband Glenn Dezurn is a super-bantamweight boxer with a 9-2-1 record, said she agreed to a two-year deal with an option for an extension if she wins another title.

De La Hoya, whose company announced inking Crews-Dezurn on June 11, did not return requests for comment, but boasted in a news release that “another world champion has joined our great stable.”

“But Franchón Crews-Dezurn is special because she is a renaissance woman,” said De La Hoya, the Golden Boy Promotions’ chairman and chief executive officer. “Aside from being the WBC super middleweight world champion, she is also a talented singer, songwriter, designer and motivational speaker. She will undoubtedly also be our ambassador as we continue to open up more opportunities for women in the sport of boxing.”

Added former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who is De La Hoya’s business partner: “I believe that she will one day be the unified champion. We are looking forward to her showing the world that she has all the ingredients to become an undisputed world champion.”

Crews-Dezurn, 32, said Golden Boy Promotions’ lineup of elite boxers — including unified middleweight champion Canelo Álvarez, World Boxing Organization super welterweight champion Jaime Munguia and WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas — made it easy for her to join the company.

“They promote Canelo Álvarez and some of the top fighters in the boxing industry,” she said. “They’ve had their run, and they know how to move high-caliber fighters. So, this is what every fighter wants to do — get into a good situation with a good promoter.”

Barry Hunter, who manages and works with Crews-Dezurn at Headbangers Boxing Gym in Washington, said signing with Golden Boy Promotions will open doors for important fights.

“In her mind, there’s job security, and everybody knows that this business can be a crazy business sometimes,” he said. “Hopefully, that will relieve the pressure that she had on her. All she can do now is focus on getting ready and staying ready for when she gets that call.”

Patrice “Boogie” Harris, who trains Crews-Dezurn at Headbangers, acknowledged his fighter has appeared to be in a better mood since joining Golden Boy Promotions.

“She’s been coming down in weight, and she’s looking good,” he said. “She’s ready to go. If you’re a world champion, you’re definitely going to have a different approach in your training and when you’re ready to fight. You’re among the elite. … It’s like she’s on a whole different level.”

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Hunter said Crews-Dezurn has her eyes on capturing more championships.

“I know that she thinks about that a bunch, but it’s about progressing in your steps,” he said. “You’re here now. So, there’s no need to rush the process. Just go through the process, and when that time comes, I’m quite sure she’ll be ready.”

Crews-Dezurn said she will sit down with her husband, her trainers and her team to determine her next title defense, and possibly unifying all three crowns in the super middleweight division.

“It’s very doable, to become the unified champion,” she said. “For me as an amateur, I’ve always been used to only one champion in each weight class. So, that’s something I definitely want to do, and that will open the doors for bigger fights. Maybe a rematch with Claressa down the line. There’s a lot I want to do. I have a plan, and I’m sure they have something. So, we’re just going to come to the table and see what the future holds.”

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