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Michael Dutchover Ready To Take Next Step Carrying West Texas In His Heart
Michael Dutchover sets his sights on becoming a contender starting with his June 6 fight.
Photo Credit: Carlos Baeza / Thompson Boxing
Author’s Note: Appreciate all the kind messages for those who have reached out in the wake of my personal dealings, as a beloved family member passed away this week. I will try and have the next newsletter out as soon as I can but there is no date for the release. In the meantime, here is a feature on junior welterweight fighter Michael Dutchover, who fights on the June 6 Thompson Boxing card which you can check out on the Thompson Boxing Facebook and YouTube channel for free at 5:30 p.m. ET.
After being nearly 1,200 miles away from his hometown in Midland, Texas, Michael “West Texas Warrior” Dutchover understands the sacrifices a fighter must take in order to succeed.
No longer staying in his hometown in Midland, Texas and now residing in Santa Fe Springs, California, Dutchover has made the decision many successful fighters in the past made and leave their home for potentially greener pastures.
“I made the sacrifice to move out here for my career and it’s what I have to do," Dutchover said. "I’m in Southern California. I drive 20-30 minutes to spar with world champions. I’ve sparred with Oscar Valdez, Arnold Barboza Jr., Jose Zepeda. This is where I need to be to hone my skills. I miss my family and my home in Texas but they know why I need to be here and it’s part of the sacrifice. As much as I love Texas, I have to be here to train. I embrace that and I train hard every day with that in mind. I love this and everyone in Texas knows that too.”
He knew he would have to stay away from his family for long periods of time, but it doesn’t mean that he can’t showcase his Texan pride and that is evident in his nickname, “West Texas Warrior.”
Dutchover never planned on having a nickname. He never had one growing up, nor did he try to make one for himself. He loves West Texas and sees himself as a warrior in the ring, but he never thought to put those two together and turn it into a nickname.
“When I started my professional boxing career, I didn’t have a nickname because I never had one growing up. As I was fighting and developing my style, Lupe Contreras was announcing one of my fights. He was like, ‘Michael ‘The West Texas Warrior.’ He basically gave me the nickname. It’s funny. When he announced it, I looked at my coach and we looked at each other and were like, ‘I guess that’s your new nickname.’ I got with it. I’m a warrior and from West Texas so I went with it after that. I didn’t know he was going to name me that, but I embraced it," Dutchover said.
Even so, Dutchover is proud to have that as a nickname and to use it as a way to represent his hometown. He was originally going to fight in Texas on May 28, but that card got postponed due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
It was going to be a homecoming of sorts as it would be the first time Dutchover would have fought in his home state since 2019. Now, he’ll fight on June 6 in Corona, California as part of a Thompson Boxing 3.2.1 Boxing card against Ivan Leon Benitez.
He didn’t plan on having his fight change date and location, but like many things, Dutchover learned to adjust and take everything in stride, no longer worrying about what could have happened and simply looking towards what’s ahead. It’s a hard lesson he learned in the wake of his first, and only, pro defeat.
Dutchover was a rising, unbeaten junior welterweight prospect when he took on fellow prospect Thomas Mattice on a Showtime-televised card in 2019 as part of the network’s ShoBox series. A win on ShoBox is not only a stepping stone for young prospects who want to take that next step in their professional career, but a test to see how they fare on a nationally-televised stage. Through seven rounds, Dutchover was in a tough battle against Mattice. But as the two fighters were fighting in the eighth round, the bout, and Dutchover’s perfect record, ended.
The now 23-year-old Dutchover suffered a cut earlier in the bout that was caused by a Mattice punch and the referee ruled that Dutchover couldn’t continue. Despite being ahead on two of the three scorecards, Mattice was ruled the winner by TKO. It’s not easy suffering your first loss as a pro boxer. To lose that fight with a ruling beyond your control must feel worse.
“That was pretty much a big step in my career and it’s been what I've known the most now for my career. It’s hard to lose in your hometown. It was out of my hands and I could have finished that 10-round fight. I threw that in the bag. It took me a couple of weeks to get over it. My family, my teams, my support system knows that it’s not the end of me,” Dutchover said.
Many fighters are aware of what a perfect record can do for their career. Look no further than Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his 50-0 record. But to some, even one loss is too much to overcome. After experiencing his first pro loss, Dutchover has a different opinion about that.
“Everyone wants to have that perfect record. In a way, it’s a good thing (that I lost), because I am not thinking about that anymore. I don’t have that in my mind. I have that Mattice fight in the bag and I’m not looking back towards it and I’m looking forward… I’m glad it happened early in my career because now I can get through adversity. It made me more experienced as a fighter. This is now my fifth year as a fighter in the pros and I’m coming into the type of fighter I know I can be both physically and mentally,” Dutchover said.
Now living in California and after going through the pandemic, Dutchover has seen and done plenty of stuff to get around the fact that gyms were closed for some time. Dutchover trained in his coach’s backyard, doing calisthenics and working the mitts a lot to make up for the fact that he had no punching bag to work with. Still, Dutchover knew he needed to adapt to the current situation.
Once he was able to get some sparring in, Dutchover took advantage of the fact that he lived in Southern California and sparred with some of the best fighters in the world from the aforementioned Valdez and Zepeda.
The sparring was beneficial for all parties involved as Dutchover got some much-needed experience and he got to help prepare Valdez for his title win against Berchelt in February and got to help prepare Zepeda for his 2020 Fight Of The Year winner against Ivan Baranchyk.
The sparring and the experience he’s received inside the ring in the past couple of years have been instrumental to Dutchover’s current growth. Now, sporting a 14-1 record, Dutchover aims to become a contender by the end of this year.
“I’ll be a contender this year and put my name out there to get ranked and take a step or two towards getting to a world title. I want to stay busy and I’m going to do my job to stay busy and be ready to fight whenever. I want to fight at least three times this year and I have a strong team behind me, back in Texas and here in Santa Fe Springs. I’m adopted by SoCal. I bleed Texas, but I’m developing a nice relationship here in California,” Dutchover said.
Whether it would be in Texas or California, Dutchover believes he is finally coming to his own as a contender and knows that the real test starts now as he faces bigger and better competition. Another loss would be a big step back in his title aspirations, but Dutchover feels he is better than ever before and ready to take the sport by storm.