32-year-old Heavyweight James “The Beast” Wilson (8-0, 7 KOs) is not your typical boxing prospect.
At first glance he fits the mold of a fighter. Athletic build with an intimidating glare and muscles that are seemingly everywhere. Some might even mistake him with a bodybuilder when taking a look at his massive frame.
Meet him outside the ring and you couldn’t meet a nicer guy. Catch him inside of it however and he is a completely different animal.
Stories of his upbringing have been talked about ad nauseam. The obstacles he has faced have been chronicled. As a young child he was homeless and a part of the foster care system. He also had a penchant for getting himself in to trouble.
Instead of letting those things bring him down, he used his trials and tribulations to become a three time all-city track and field athlete. He also became football player of year in high school as well.
Unlike most athletes that are gifted in one particular sport he was blessed with abilities in multiple ones. He soon took his talents to kick boxing where he amassed a record of 16-2-1.
He then ventured into the world of MMA where he earned a record of 5-3. James has now found a home in professional boxing. His record of 8-0 with seven of those wins coming by knockout would lead us to believe that he has found where he was supposed to be all along.
James got a chance to speak with Round By Round Boxing to discuss several topics regarding his career and what lies ahead.
The Heavyweight landscape looks much deeper and dangerous than it ever has. For several years the big guys were dormant. An afterthought if you will.
Dillian Whyte, Luis Ortiz, Jarrell Miller and many others are clamoring for their crack at a title. With all of the impressive names that were just rattled off, “The Beast” feels as though he brings something unique to the table.
“These other guys are stiff,” said James during his interview with RBRBoxing. “My movement along with my power is just something these other guys don’t have.”
Bold but confident words by the undefeated Heavyweight who has knocked out his past seven opponents. When watching the way Wilson fights it is difficult to disagree with him.
He is a come forward fighter, but is very elusive when his opponents try to launch an attack against him, continually ducking out of the way of punches before unleashing a barrage of his own shots. Wilson credits his deep background in multiple sports for his abilities to move around the ring so well.
“Every sport I’ve played is so different,” said Wilson. “For example, the angles an MMA fighter uses when throwing his punches is so much different than a traditional boxer, but I feel as though every sport I have played has helped me become the fighter that I am.”
Fighters such as Vasili Lomachenko, Terence Crawford and Canelo Alvarez have been groomed from a young age to be world-class fighters. Canelo turned professional at the age of 15. At that exact same age James was homeless and trying to figure out where his next meal would come from.
Fast forward over 15 years later and not only is he an undefeated Heavyweight prospect, but he is also signed to one of the biggest boxing promoters in Golden Boy Promotions as well.
He also has the burden of expectations. Many fans and pundits alike have compared him to former great Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. The comparisons are early in his career, but they may hold a bit of merit.
They are both similar in height and build. They also both go for the knockout at all times. Wilson has built himself quite an early career. Just how does he deal with the pressure that comes along with these expectations? That’s easy. He doesn’t let it affect him at all.
“I come from humble beginnings. When you come from where I come from then pressure doesn’t affect you,” said Wilson. “I’ve been through so much already. I come from a place where the pressure just doesn’t bother me. Don’t get me wrong, the comparisons to Mike Tyson are amazing to me. He was such a great fighter, actually my favorite fighter. I just don’t focus on what other people say, but the comparisons are amazing to me.”
If you squint hard enough you can see flashes of Tyson when he fights. Ducking low to avoid punches and throwing punches with bad intentions.
The Beast admits to peeling away some layers of Tyson’s game and adding it to his own. “It’s like when Kobe came in the game he watched Jordan,” said Wilson. “I’m just following suit.”
To start 2018, Wilson looked like his moniker The Beast by knocking out all three of his opponents in the months of March, April and May. A busy schedule is normal for a prospect. However as of late he has not made a ring appearance since that May bout.
It begs the question as to why he has slowed down his torrid pace? His manager Jared Shaw had an answer.
“I’m the reason why James has not been in the ring since May,” said Shaw. “We have been working on putting together the right team behind him and making sure everything is lined up properly to allow him to reach his career goals. You can expect to see him back in the ring on January 26 in Houston on the Jaime Munguia undercard.”
Fighting with regularity will also be apart of the game plan as well. “Expect to see James fight six times next year,” said Shaw.
With many boxing prospects, they are given time to grow, because they come into the sport at a relatively young age. Typically after several years and a number of fights they are often times ready to challenge for either a title or the top of the rankings. Wilson on the other hand is already 32 years old.
His manager acknowledged that their process will be a bit more accelerated.
“We are not looking to have about 25-30 fights and then finally be ready for a title opportunity,” said Shaw. “I think we’re more along the lines of about two-and-a-half years and we’ll be ready for a shot at the title. I personally feel as though he is ready to compete with anyone right now but we will take our time and in about two-and-a-half more years we’ll be ready to take all the titles.”
As for who James wants in particular he made it pretty clear.
“I want all the titles. I’m going after all of them. If I had to choose I really want that WBC title,” said Wilson. “I feel as though Deontay Wilder is not fit to be America’s Heavyweight champion.”
It might be a bit too early to compare James to an all-time great fighter in Mike Tyson. Actually, it is too early. However, he is explosive and has beem highly impressive thus far in his career. He might be someone to keep an eye on in 2019.