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The Detroit News

De Hoyos Profits When He Spars With WBA Champ

By Michael Katz

27 October 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Detroit News. All rights reserved. 

DETROIT -- One of the bonuses of being a young fighter in the Kronk Gym stable is there always seems to be a world champion around to help you refine your skills.

And that has been a huge benefit to Detroit welterweight Christian De Hoyos, who is fighting tonight on the undercard of a main event featuring Mary Jo Sanders at Andiamo's in Warren.

De Hoyos (5-0) gave as good as he got during recent sparring sessions with World Boxing Association champion Vivian Harris. De Hoyos, 20, not only was helping Harris prepare for a title defense against Oktay Urkal ? which Harris won with an 11th-round knockout Saturday ? he was gaining valuable experience by going toe-to-toe with a seasoned pro.

"It was great experience; I learned a lot," De Hoyos said. "Especially about how to pace myself to go more rounds."

But it wasn't just about boxing. De Hoyos struck up a friendship with Harris in Los Angeles, when they were part of the camp of brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who are trained by Kronk dean Emanuel Steward.

"We talked, we hung out," said De Hoyos, who also has sparred with Arturo Gatti and Erik Morales... "He's a real good person."

Of course, the friendship was put aside when they stepped into the ring.

"The workouts were jam-packed," Steward said. "Four sparring sessions; they were so ? intense.

"Harris gave Christian a lot of credit (for the victory over Urkal)."

De Hoyos is a native of Puerto Rico and moved to Detroit with his mother and sister when he was 8. It's no secret his favorite boxer is former welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight champion Felix Trinidad, an icon in Puerto Rico.

"I just love watching his tapes, his fights," De Hoyos said.

De Hoyos said he doesn't classify himself as a boxer or puncher. Instead, he is more like a chameleon, adapting to his opponent's style.

But there is something about De Hoyos that reminds Steward of another former champion who wore the Kronk colors.

"He has a lot of Oscar De La Hoya in him, when De La Hoya was good," said Steward, who trained De La Hoya. "He's sharp, very intense, with short, accurate punches."

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