The story starts out the same way for so, so many pugilists. It’s a grandfather, a dad, or maybe a brother, who got hooked on boxing, and the little one follows in the footsteps. For Michael Dutchover, it was his older brother Junior who got boxing in his blood, at Midtown Soldiers Boxing Club, in Midland, Texas.
Lil bro played all the sports, and excelled at football and cross country. They don’t mess around in the slightest in Texas with their football, so Michael knew he needed to be in proper shape for the startup of camp before he began third grade.
“Football was my first passion growing up and I was a bad little dude,” says Dutchover, who holds a 16-2 (10 KOs) record, and meets up with seasoned Mexican Antonio Moran (27-5-1, 19 KOs) in the Last Chance tournament semifinal on August 5.
“I needed to stay in shape for the next football season. I told my parents (dad Jerry, mom Angel) I want to skip the off-season and do boxing to stay in shape. I went to a boxing gym, I fell in love with boxing and it just took off from there.”
The fighter dubbed “The West Texas Warrior” compiled a 130-17 record as an amateur, advanced to the US Olympic Trials in 2015, and then decided to embark on the next leg of the journey. He progressed nicely on the professional side, signaling the strength of his conviction to succeed when he jetted to California right after graduating high school, to get work in a flourishing zone of like-minded athletes.
“Since I moved to train in Southern California, I sparred world champions, contenders and top prospects,” the low-key personality told ProBox News.
No one’s ride on this path stays smooth, though. At 12-0, Dutchover, trainer/manager Danny Zamora and promoters Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions decided to book a step-up fight, against 14-1-1 Thomas Mattice on ShoBox. The clash would unfold in Midland, so yes, the makings were there for a triumphant hometown celebratory bash. The boxing gods didn’t get the memo, however.
A nasty cut over Dutchover’ left eye appeared in the eighth. From a punch? From a butt? The distinction was crucial, as the ref said a punch caused the damage. Thus, Mattice had his hand raised, there would be no jubilant confetti shower for the Midland fighter. Two years later, Dutchover tasted another L, at the hands of 13-1 Nahir Albright, who stopped the Texan in round six after sending him to the mat four times.
Boxing is weird that way—maybe that loss will prove to be a blessing, because Dutchover’s character truly emerged. When the opportunity came to hit the reset button, and enter the Last Chance tourney, he didn’t shrink away. The 24 year old knew ProBox would have him in with fighters of a similar level, he’d not be gifted gimmes to regain momentum. "I live my life, win, lose, or draw you gotta get out there, you can’t lay down. In the fight against Albright, I would have kept getting up if the ref didn’t stop it. You gotta put me on stretcher! I’m learning a lot about life from fighting, I take my losses like my wins,” says the boxer, who frequently makes references to his faith in a higher power. “The fighting life is very humbling, it teaches you a lot about life. Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it.”