Ever since childhood, Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell lived by one motto: Train hard, fight hard. By always pushing himself to the next level throughout his life, this professional boxer has accumulated an impressive number of victories and milestones since his debut in 2005.
As a child, Dirrell grew up attending the school of hard knocks. Flint, Michigan was a difficult area in the ’80s, and many of Dirrell’s friends and family members succumbed to a life of crime or death. Raised by his grandfather, he instilled in Anthony the values of hard work and respect. Looking for a way to channel his energy into a positive environment, Anthony found his passion in boxing. Boxing runs in his blood, as his brother, uncle and cousins before him all practiced the sport. With some motivation from his grandfather, Anthony Dirrell laced up a pair of gloves for the first time to try boxing for himself. After being victorious in his first amateur event in Saginaw, Michigan, Anthony knew that a career in boxing was in his future.
Dirrell officially turned pro in 2005, and his first match was against a powerful opponent: Henry Dukes. Anthony ran circles around his opponent, scoring a TKO on him in the first round. This first round victory set the pace for Dirrell’s next few matches. In his second professional fight, he beat Dewayne Warren in the second round by TKO, but not before knocking his opponent down a few times in the first round. Anthony would then beat Larry Brothers in the second round by TKO and Mike Walthier in the first round with a powerful knockout punch.
Dirrell’s first challenge came at the hands of Gabriel Riviera. Riviera was on a win streak of his own; just like Anthony Dirrell, Riviera had won his last four fights. Only one man would come out of this battle the victor, and that man was Anthony. This win would help propel Anthony to a 26 fight win streak, with Anthony typically knocking his opponents out by the second round, if not the first. This win streak would earn Anthony the right to challenge Sakio Bika for the WBC Super Middleweight title.
However, Bika proved to be more of a challenge than Anthony expected. When the fight continued past the second round, fans knew they were in for the fight of a lifetime. In an unprecedented outcome, the bout lasted the entire 12 rounds, with the judges ruling the fight a draw. While not technically a loss, this is the first fight in which Anthony was not the victor. On August 16, 2014, the two men met again in a rematch, and after another 12-round match, Anthony won the title by unanimous decision. However, he wouldn’t hold the title long, as Badou Jack would hand this boxer his first loss in 2015.
Throughout his career, Anthony Dirrell has overcome the odds. Despite a cancer diagnosis and a motorcycle accident, the boxer is still a force of nature in the ring. When it comes to overpowering an opponent and putting a stop to them early in the fight, few are better than this super middleweight boxer.