This is an interview that I have recently conducted with a man of much experience in the boxing world, and one who has proven himself as a world renowned trainer, savvy promoter, and a successful businessman owning and operating Big Six Boxing Academy for over 7 years. Here he shares some of his experiences with us. Enjoy!
1. You have been a recognizable name and face in New England boxing since the glory days of your son Jason Estrada tearing up the amateur scene, what has the been your highest and lowest moment in this crazy world of prize fighting?
The highest is a tie between the first time Jason won the National Junior Olympics in 1996 which just happened to be the 25th anniversary of that tournament and the other would be when they played the National Anthem of the United States when Jason won gold at the 2003 Pan American Games. Of course making the Olympic team was an equally great feeling. The lowest is easy, the horrible press attack on Jason when he was eliminated in the 2004 Olympics. That was a rude awakening on how the press can make you or break you.
2 . How and why did you get your son Jason Estrada into boxing?
It’s like a trap. I tried it for a few years myself as a teenager and eventually started training kids in my back yard. Of course when Jay was born it was just natural to train my son. I’m not sure but I suppose he was so good that at some point I believe he was training me. Either way it’s impossible to take that away from a kid when he’s one of the best in the world.
3. Over the years I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of cats come and go, not to put anybody on blast but what comes to mind when the words “waste of talent” are mentioned?
A few peoples names who I won’t mention. Let’s just say alcohol, drugs and women are responsible for ending many many careers.
4. 2014 had been a pretty spectacular year for your company Big Six Boxing Promotions, can you give us a little background into why you started the company and who helps you run the shows…
Mostly when my contract with CES expired we needed to keep Jason busy without locking back in to a long term contract. That and the fact that as a trainer and gym owner I have a lot of guys coming up who I don’t want to have to beg other promoters to put on shows. We’re like an entry point into the pro scene. We’re not big like CES but we don’t mind developing fighters both on our shows and when they allow us, on their shows. My partner and CEO is Artie Depinho.
5.Your son Jason is coming off a 19 month hiatus and July 26th will be his much awaited return to the ring after a successful knee surgery what are your thoughts on his upcoming performance and how has his recovery been?
Grueling, Grueling and more grueling. Training camp was five months. Certain exercises we have eliminated from the workouts. Maybe it’s a blessing, we’ll see. He’s been sitting down on his punches a lot more now.
6. With your gym Big Six Boxing Academy being in the Douglas Ave area and so close to the infamous Chad Brown housing projects, what are your thoughts on all of the violence that’s happening in our cities streets as of lately? We also heard one of your female boxers has been shot in one the incidents, is this true, and your thoughts on that as well……
Yeah, she was involved in a home invasion but luckily she’s fine. So far, the violence has not reached our gym. Most people involved in these incidents know of our gym and our reputation and quite frankly without guns they have no interest in messing with a gym full of fighters, half of which are also from the street. The idiots need to be locked up. That’s why boxing is so great. It can turn a wayward youths life around.
7 . August 2nd a good handful of your amatuer boxers representing Big Six will be boxing in the 4th annual 401 REGIMEN CLASSIC, downtown Providence, tell us about some of your amatuer guys and their potential in this sport……
All-stars, mediocre guys and couple of beginners. It’s just work. You know I put my guys in with anybody. Win, lose or draw, we’re looking for work. My prospects that night are Marcellino DeBarros, Nameek Vieirra, Devon Shelton and your friend Chic Reed. My stars are Keenan Moses and 9 year old sensation Bubba The Baby Man Shelton.
8. Most of your professional boxing cards are held in Massachusetts, is there any particular reason why you choose to do more shows there than in Providence and why?
Yeah I did a few shows in RI but found with extra commission expenses, CES running shows bimonthly and lack of a big ticket seller in RI, Boston was a better fit. It’s more of a fight town with a much bigger fan base. Eventually though we’ll be back.
9. What do you have to say to a parent, who has a child interested in taking up boxing but they beleive the sport is too rough or dangerous to pursue?
They’re wrong. The benefits are huge. Self respect, discipline, confidence, work ethic, etc. The benefits are endless. Amateur boxing is one of the safest sports out there. You train hard and you get rewarded, simple as that.
10. We know that your gym is a hot spot for sparring and some legendary rounds can happen on any given night, who are some of your favorite guys to watch mix it up in there?
Jason vs anybody, Keenan Moses vs anybody, Kali Reis vs anybody including guys, Elijah Peixoto vs anybody but especially Anthony Marsella, those sparring matches are epic. I also like when other guys like Booboo and Vladine and Thomas Folowa and Toka Kahn come down. Then I can sit back and watch another coach get frustrated.