WASHINGTON, D.C., (Jan. 7, 2014)- Highly regarded undefeated welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (19-0, 11KOs), from Southeast Washington, D.C., will be making his 2014 and National TV debut when he faces "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon Jr. (10-3-1, 2KOs) in an eight-round bout on Jan. 31 live on ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights from West Orange, N.J.
Hernandez-Harrison, 19, is coming off a stellar 2013 campaign that saw him go 8-0, with four knockouts, and win the WBC Youth Welterweight Championship in just his second full year as a pro. Besides winning his first World Title at Madison Square Garden and selling out the University of the District of Columbia in his 2013 hometown debut, Hernandez-Harrison was named one of the "Top Prospects to Watch in 2014" by Dan Rafael of ESPN, among numerous other accolades and honors.
Hernandez-Harrison also was named the "2013 Prospect of the Year" by Boxing Along the Beltway, BoxingPulse.com, RoundByRoundBoxing.com, and StandingEightCount.com; additionally,he won the fan voting for the Go Fight Live, GFL.tv, “2013 Fighter of the Year” and the “Knockout of the Year” (for his fifth-round KO of Eddie Soto).
"The recognition from the different writers and the fans are wonderful, and I truly appreciate it," Hernandez-Harrison said. "But I know that I need to continue my hard work in the gym, watching film and otherwise doing everything I can to continue developing as a professional. Nobody can rest on their accolades as a professional athlete, and I am focused on improving in every facet of my game.”
Former two-time heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon Sr. certainly understands what a win over a fighter of Hernandez-Harrison's notoriety will do for his son's career.
"We are looking forward to this fight with Dusty," Witherspoon Sr. said. "It's long overdue for my son to have an opportunity like this and a win over a fighter like Dusty on ESPN is the first step on the road to a championship."
"We respect Dusty, but it is Tim Jr.'s time," said Steve Witherspoon, the fighter's uncle and co-trainer. "He's going to knock Dusty out; The Witherspoons are coming, and we are wreaking havoc!"
Hernandez-Harrison's father and trainer, Buddy Harrison, believes 2014 will be a crucial year in his son's in-ring development.
"From this fight forward everyone will be gunning for Dusty," Harrison said. "During our year end recap Jeff (Fried) told us that every fight will be tougher than the last and we are preparing accordingly. Dusty is training like this is a world title fight and it will show on January 31st."
And Hernandez-Harrison recognizes that Witherspoon is a worthy challenge.
"Not only is he the son of a former heavyweight champion; he's from Philly so I know he's going to be tough," Hernandez-Harrison said. "He's slick, skillful and has tremendous experience in his corner, so we know what we have to do, and it starts and ends with my hard work in the gym."
Hernandez-Harrison has a close-knit professional team that includes Buddy and their promoter, Jeff Fried of All-In Entertainment. Fried believes January 31, is a continuation of their diverse plan for Dusty to develop as an elite level boxer.
"Exposure for a young athlete, including outside of their comfort zone, is invaluable as he gains the experience necessary to reach his goals. Whether we have Dusty as the main event in our hometown (Washington, D.C.) or the first bout in a city where he is not yet fully known, it is all part of the growth process," added Fried. "Dusty's uncanny grounded self-accountability and training work ethic will serve him very well throughout this journey."