Friday, February 15, 2019

Don’t Blink on Chicago’s Joshua Greer

By Luis A. Cortes III

While “Motor City” Detroit, Michigan has a rich history with boxing, the third largest city in the country and largest in the Midwest, Chicago’s boxing tradition is commonly left out of discussions regarding great fight towns. Of course, Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles are three commonly mentioned cities, something not lost on bantamweight contender Joshua Greer 19-1-1 (10 KOs). Greer who is a native son of the South Side of Chicago appears tonight on ESPN as the co-feature of the main event that features Rob Brant defending his portion of the middleweight championship.

For Greer, it’s the opportunity that he has been working towards since signing a promotional contract with Top Rank last year. “I was fighting on ShoBox before signing with Top Rank and it was great for exposure, but there was no real plan in place once those fights were over,” stated Greer during a recent call with TWI. “That’s why along with my manger (the well-respected James Prince), Top Rank was the best fit for us to take my career to the next level.” With a victory over Giovanni Escaner 19-3 (12 KOs) Greer will position himself as a serious contender for any of the champions in the bantamweight division.

“All of the major belts except for the WBC belt are locked up currently in the tournament.” What Greer is talking about of course is the World Series of Boxing tournaments that are currently focused on his division. Nordine Oubaali is the current champion and is someone that Greer and his team have their sights set on. “Any of the champions after this fight is what I’m looking forward to,” remarked Greer.

As a native of the tough streets of South Side Chicago, Greer, like his fallen friend and former top welterweight prospect Ed Brown almost became a victim of the environment that has taken the lives of many talented men. “I love representing my city and the place that I’m from, but it’s really easy for young guys like myself to wind up on the wrong end of things. Chicago needs to get back to where it once was not just in boxing but for all the young athletes. I don’t surround myself with negativity anymore. I choose to get out and surround myself with the right people and just focus on making it through boxing.”

Greer at one point after an amateur career that wasn’t as decorated as the ones you would see many top contenders having decided after a two-year hiatus that it was time to take boxing seriously to provide for his young family. “I had a conversation with my grandmother and she told me that it was time to get back into the gym to make something of myself,” stated Greer. After all, it was his grandmother who was his primary care taker throughout his life that initially took Greer to a gym as a way of keeping her grandson out of trouble. She entrusted his boxing growth to George Hernandez, and since that time, Greer has bloomed into a talent and finds himself on the cusp of fulfilling his dreams of championship glory.

His lone professional defeat was at the hands of Stephen “Scooter” Felton, himself a top talent. It wasn’t that long ago that Greer was an over looked fighter. That all changed in March of 2017 when he fought James Smith on ShoBox. Prior to the fight at the press conference, Smith and Greer were exchanging words, when Greer told him that he would “put him to sleep.” “One of the members of my team mentioned that I should get a pillow and put the words ‘night, night’ on it and take it to the ring.  So we did that and after I knocked him out I grabbed it and carried it around the ring,” reminisced Greer.

As is the case with today’s social media-based society, the video went viral and Greer gained a sort of instant following as a result. So, with a great acumen for self-promotion and a solid team behind him, along with his new-found approach of being completely committed to his career, both inside and out of the ring, it would be wise for fight fans not to blink or take Joshua Greer lightly. Instead, they should pay attention to this young contender who may just be the answer the Chicago fight scene has been looking for in order for the “Windy City” to return to the minds of boxing fans around the world.    

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