Undefeated middleweight prospect DonYil Livingston, whose cousin is world super middleweight champion Andre Ward, is making up for lost time.
The 27-year-old Livingston (6-0-1, 3 KOs), fighting out of Palmdale, California, was a highly decorated US amateur boxer who was so disillusioned with the politics of boxing that he went on a boxing sabbatical for years before eventually turning pro in 2010 . He had a solid 178-23 (89 KOs) amateur record, including gold medal performances in the National Silver Gloves (1996, 1998 and 2000), National Junior Golden Gloves (1995-2000), 2000 National & International Junior Olympic s, 2001 National Under-19 Tournament, and 2004 Ringside World Championships.
"I got a bad decision in the 2002 Olympic Trials and lost my love for amateur boxing," DonYil explained. "You can get seriously hurt boxing if you’re not 100-percent into it, so I decided to take time off until I got the desire to turn pro. I stepped away from boxing for 2 ½ years. I got married and became a father. I may have stepped away from boxing but, mentally, I worked on the fundamentals. I honestly believe I have benefitted from my time away from boxing because my body didn’t’ take any punishment. I’m 27, physically speaking, but I don’t feel like a 27-year-old boxer."
Livingston’s pro career got off to a slow start. He had only two fights in 2010, but signed a promotional contact this year with Boxing 360, and he’s fought five times in 2011.
"We’re very high on DonYil," Boxing 360 founder/CEO Mario Yagobi noted. "He was a great amateur and has all of the tools to become a champion. Plus, he has good bloodlines with a cousin like Andre Ward."
"I’m very fortunate to be with Mario," Livingston said. "He gave me my opportunity. It was very difficult for me to get fights. I heard every excuse in the book. It was frustrating. I connected with Mario and it’s been a great mix. He’s moved me very well. Mario is getting me the right fights on the right cards. I’m confident that he will continue moving me in the right direction.
"I’m sharp, getting better and prepared to be in the ultimate position - to become champion of the world. All of the hard work takes place in the gym where I show my work ethic."
DonYil’s pro career hit a slight bump in the road this past August, when he fought a six-round draw with Roberto Yong (4-3). That setback led to his most significant fight as a pro on Oct. 15 versus previously undefeated Kurtiss Colvin (6-0) on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Livingston made a strong statement, defeating Colvin by way of a six-round decision (59-55, 58-56, 58-56).
"Coming off of a draw," Livingston concluded, "that was a very significant fight for me. I had to make a statement against an unbeaten- up-and-coming prospect. It was do or die for me, so I had to fight the way I did to win. The draw was a mental check for me. I tended to start fights slowly but I knew I had to change for my last fight."
October 25, 2011