(All pictures by Rich Peterson / 13twentythree Photography)
LAS VEGAS (January 23, 2014) -- One of Mike Tyson's "Young Gunz" is promising featherweight prospect Dennis Galarza (2-0, 1 KO), who is making a smooth transition from amateur to professional ranks as he continues his journey.
Born in Brooklyn, Galarza grew-up in Orlando, Florida, where he learned how to box when he was nine. Last October, he and his "brother," 18-year-old Erickson "Hammer" Lubin (2-0, 2 KOs), signed a managerial contact with Henry Rivalta (Rivalta Mangement), who brought Galarza and Lubin to their promoter, Iron Mike Productions. This dynamic, young duo made successful pro debuts last November in Sunrise, Florida, both improved to 2-0 fighting on the same card earlier this month in Minneapolis, and they are now scheduled to fight again February 7 in Chicago.
"My uncle took me to a gym for the first time when I was nine," 21-year-old Galarza remembered his introduction into boxing. "All kids think they can fight but I fell in love with boxing that first day and I've been in a gym ever since. I like team sports but I didn't want to lose and because of somebody else. There's nobody to blame in boxing and, hey, you get to hit people, too.
"I've known Erickson for more than 12 years. He was training at Dynamic Boxing, which was five blocks from my house, but I was training at another gym in Orlando. He's always been a helluva fighter. We met fighting at different shows in Florida and then he started training at our gym. He has lived with my family for the past four or five years and is as close to me as a blood brother. He's a great fighter who is very humble. We started a friendship and now we're on this journey together. We have a long run ahead of us."
Galarza had an outstanding 133-22 amateur record, highlighted by five Ringside World Championship gold medal performances to go along with top honors at the Junior Golden Gloves and National PAL tournaments. Rather than remain an amateur and take a shot at qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, Galarza and Lubin decided to become prizefighters.
"The decision was not that difficult," the well-spoken Galarza explained. "It was something we always wanted to do and all we needed was an appropriate contact. We spoke with promoters from the West Coast and North but not many in Florida. When Mike, Garry (Jonas) and Henry (Rivalta) called us, we had been in camp for three weeks in Colorado Springs. We flew to Orlando, drove four hours to Deerfield Beach, and worked out and sparred (at Iron Mike Gym). My dad (and their trainer, Jason Galarza) negotiated our contracts. Everything has been perfect. We wanted to fight a lot in Florida, at least on the East Coast, where our family and friends live to build our fan-bases. We also made a lot of friends from fighting in tournaments all over the world."
Standing 6' 0" with a 75" reach, Galarza is a freakishly-built 126-pounder who uses his height and length to great advantage, using a piston-like jab to set-up all of his other punches. "I've always been told that I'd be a better pro than amateur because of my style," Galarza noted. "I'm a really composed fighter (like his favorite fighter, 'Tito' Trinidad) and I've enjoyed the transition to the pros from amateurs. Fighting without headgear didn't bother me at all and smaller gloves lets me know when I've really landed a hard punch. I stay on the outside and use my favorite punch - jab - to dominate fights. I've never fought a taller fighter. I once fought a guy who was as tall as me and it was shocking. Not for long, though, because he only last 30 seconds with me. It's been exciting and, so far, a lot of fun being a pro boxer.
"I'd like to fight another nine or 10 times this year and with an 11 or 12-0 record, I should have a regional title. What I really want is that (WBC) green belt. I hope by the time I'm 15-0 to 18-0, I will be on the verge of a world title fight."
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"Dennis has great skills and great mindset," his manager Henry Rivalta (on left) added. "I love this kid. Iron Mike Productions is doing a great job with its boxers and that's why I brought Dennis and Erickson there. I'm very happy that my young fighters are promoted by IMP."
Go online to www.IronMikeProductions.com for more information about Galarza or follow him on Twitter @DGTheChamp.
ABOUT IRON MIKE PRODUCTIONS (IMP): Founded in 2013 by CEO Garry Jonas and Hall of Famer Mike Tyson, Iron Mike Productions is a full-service boxing promotional company with offices located in Deerfield Beach, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. IMP is committed to changing traditional boxing promotion by advocating for its fighters' successes, inside the ring and out, throughout their professional careers and into retirement.