Thompson Boxing’s Search for a Heavyweight Star

Finding a good heavyweight may be as difficult as looking for a pearl in an oyster or a diamond in a coal mine. It’s not easy.

Thompson Boxing Promotions signed LaRon Mitchell, a heavyweight from the San Francisco area, on Monday. The Orange-based company has thrown its weight behind searching for a good heavyweight. Could Mitchell be the one?

Mitchell (4-0, 4 Kos) hopes to please his new promoter with a win over Northern California’s Hector Martinez (7-6-1, 4 Kos) on Friday, Sept. 26, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. Martinez has only been stopped once in all of his fights.

“There are a lot of different things. Athleticism is very important,” said Alex Camponovo, the matchmaker who has been an asset in finding talent for Thompson Boxing, when asked about the top traits of a blue-chip heavy. “You cannot measure the speed and compare a smaller guy with a heavyweight. He’s a smooth heavyweight guy. He can pick a guy apart. He’s a very technical fighter.”

Mitchell, 34, was a former Bronze medalist in the 2012 U.S. Nationals and reportedly has power, as most heavyweights do possess. Though age is a detriment in Mitchell’s case, it can also be an asset for a promotion company seeking to hang on to a fighter after contracts end.

“He’s a mature guy, not a 22 year old fighter. We don’t have to go through the ups and downs from a fighter going through the ups and downs,” Camponovo said. “We have to fast track them a little bit. Those rules of being an 18 don’t apply for him.”

Camponovo hopes his skills in finding new talent apply with heavyweight discoveries as it did with his success with lower weight stars like Timothy Bradley, Yohnny Perez, Josesito Lopez and Mauricio Herrera. All cracked the elite level in the hard knock world of professional prizefighting.

One of the reasons Thompson Boxing refrained from the big guys was that other Southern California-based boxing promoters were scooping up heavyweights.

“In the past when they had the heavyweight academy, a lot of that talent was going in that direction. Nobody came across so it took a little bit of time to find somebody. I think at the moment the division is pretty open. After Stiverne, Wilder and obviously Chris Arreola, it might be the time to find someone in the U.S,” said Camponovo, adding that there are drawbacks in finding a good heavyweight television fights. “It’s getting harder and harder to get television because a couple of promoters are soaking it up.”

But talent can break barriers and Thompson Boxing has done it before, numerous times.

Mitchell still has to prove that talent, but signing a promotional contract is a big step.

“I’m thrilled to fight under the Thompson Boxing banner,” said Mitchell, who had a solid amateur run capped by a bronze medal at the 2012 U.S. Nationals. “I got a late start in the sport, but I’m a hard worker and I look forward to improving with every fight.”

Thompson Boxing president Ken Thompson likes some of Mitchell’s traits.

“We like his power, we like his determination to get better,” said Thompson. “We plan on keeping him busy and we’ll monitor his progress carefully.”

Camponovo likes his seemingly split personality in and out of the boxing ring.

“He’s an easy going guy to deal with and has a great work effort, bright smile, great personality and good lefty pop,” Camponovo said. “You have to be mean in there. I think La Ron has a lot of that. When he’s in the ring he likes to go for the kills.”