Eric Fowler feels right at home in Los Angeles despite being more than 1,000 miles from his Texas roots.
“I love boxing,” says Fowler, 22, who is originally from Conroe, Texas. “California is the best place to box.”
Fowler is one of more than a dozen members of the Los Angeles Matadors boxing team that participates in the new World Series of Boxing league. On Thursday, Jan. 13, the team returns home at Nokia Theater to face the Miami Gallos team.
The Matador team is comprised of various outstanding amateur stars that have all garnered national titles of some type and now box professionally. The one difference is all of the boxers maintain eligibility to participate in the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London.
For those not familiar with the World Series of Boxing, there are teams from North America, Europe and Asia.
The Americas Conference consists of Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis and Mexico City. Asia Conference has Baku, Astana, Incheon and Beijing. Europe Conference has Paris, Milan, Istanbul and Moscow.
It’s truly an international setting with worldwide talent participation.
So why isn’t it hooking on more?
Honestly, the matchmaking is superior to most boxing cards because there is parity in the league. Each team has multiple national and international stars on its rosters.
Fowler is one of them.
The eager beaver lightweight boxer from Conroe has blitzed through competition with his “take no prisoners” fighting style. When he last fought in Los Angeles he burrowed through his opponent like it was his ticket to free food. In a sense, it was.
“Most fighters are not hungry,” says Fowler, whose attacking style reminds of Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor. “When I was a kid we used to have to look for food in the trash.”
After years of living day to day without a secure household, Fowler and his family were helped by a man who pointed the youngster toward boxing. It grabbed hold of him and never let go.
“It’s a more gentleman sport,” says Fowler who tried mixed martial arts too. “There’s no kicking and fighting like little girls.”
The 132-pound boxer speaks his mind, even theologically.
“A lot of people don’t have faith,” said Fowler who is very religious. “You got to be humble. Lots of boxers come from hard backgrounds. I want to be centered.”
Inside the ring, however, Fowler has other ideas.
“I’m trying to break the dude down,” explains Fowler about his fighting philosophy. “Every man is beatable, even me. So I have to work harder than the other guy.”
Fowler is just one of maybe 16 other fighters on the Matadors team and each one of them has a story. And each one is ratcheting up the punch ratio to keep pace with competition that doesn’t allow for blow out victories.
The Miami Gallos arrive with their squad that is led by Ireland amateur star John Joe Joyce and famed trainer Pat Burns who formerly trained Winky Wright. It’s a formidable outfit that stands in second place.
Fowler loves competing even when sparring in the California boxing jungle.
“Sparring is great here man. They’re trying to take you out and I’m trying to take them out too,” Fowler says excitedly. “I love it here.”
Check out the World Series of Boxing.
For more information go to www.worldseriesboxing.com
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?