LaRon Mitchell (7-0, 7 KOs), a heavyweight prospect that also happens to be a full-time elementary school teacher in California’s Bay Area, is featured on Thompson Boxing Promotions “New Blood” undercard this Friday, June 26.
Mitchell, 35, took to the sport later than usual, but in his seven professional fights, he’s shown a gift for the dramatic. Mitchell has knocked out every opponent that he’s been matched against. On Friday he faces Houston-based Roy McReary (4-3, 3 KOs) in a scheduled 6-rounder.
We caught up with the San Francisco native and talked about his work as an educator, his college experience playing football, and why he’s fully committed to boxing.
What made you decide to get involved in boxing?
“I was interested in MMA at first. I’d go to the gym and work on grappling techniques and do some striking. There were also boxers at this gym and every now and then I’d take a look at what they were doing and I found it a lot more fascinating. Boxing is more intricate and dynamic. Instead of being average in a lot of different fighting styles, it forces you to become elite in one discipline, and that’s what I liked about it.”
Prior to transitioning into boxing, you had quite a bit of amateur success in football.
“I played wide receiver and tight end at Modesto Junior College, and later I transferred to Paul Quinn College in Dallas. In 2005, I worked out for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. It was an awesome experience just to work out for a professional football team.”
You currently teach at St. Elizabeth’s in Oakland. What do your students think of your career as a professional boxer?
“They love it. It’s crazy because I didn’t tell anyone about it. I wasn’t really promoting it. But once word got out, everyone has been really supportive. I have so much support from the students, the staff, and the entire St. Elizabeth’s community.”
Do your students view you as more of a role model, now that they know about your career as a boxer?
“I know they’re excited for me. I know for myself, it feels great because I feel like a positive inspiration for these kids. I could be a world champion tomorrow, but if I’m empty inside, it doesn’t do me any good. How you positively affect other peoples’ lives is what this is all about.”
On Friday, you’ll face Roy McReary. Is there any pressure to produce a knockout win?
“Roy is a big guy with a pretty good skill set. My record is what it is. It doesn’t mean much at this point. In the heavyweight division, you’re always one punch away from losing so I just take it one fight at a time.”