By GIB SNYDER III
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
On Friday, Aug. 24, Dunkirk native, Ivan 'Hurricane' Hernandez, will look to celebrate his 24th birthday in style.
Dunkirk native Ivan Hernandez will look to celebrate his 24th birthday in style Friday, Aug. 24, when he takes on Philadelphia’s Charles Mack, in Whitehall, N.Y.
The Dunkirk Senior High School Class of 2007 alum will be seeking his first professional boxing win, as he will face Philadelphia's Charles Mack, in Whitehall, N.Y., at the Whitehall Athletic Club, as part of the 'Battle of Whitehall.'
Hernandez, who has been boxing since he was eight years old, had a very successful amateur career, going 49-7, and winning a pair of Silver Gloves championships, three Regional championships, an Ohio State championship and a Junior Olympic title. However, his professional career did not get off to as successful a beginning as he would have hoped, as he lost his first bout by way of decision to Justin Goodall in Fort Myers, Fla., in Sept., 2010. Having dropped 24 pounds in three days prior to the fight, Hernandez knew that the fight was not going to be an easy one to win.
"I was weak and I thought I would recuperate after the weight loss," Hernandez said. "They don't want to give me the rematch. He looked worse than I did, but I couldn't fight to my full potential."
An orthodox, right-handed fighter, Hernandez began training at a young age at Tommy Rocque's 2XL gym, in Dunkirk, but since the age of 15, he has been working with Buffalo-based trainer Ross Thompson. A professional fighter himself, once fighting former IBF and WBA Light Middleweight Champion, Fernando Vargas, Thompson and Hernandez are working to figure out the best way to attack Mack, who remains a bit of an unknown to the pair.
"All I know is he has a lot of amateur fights," Hernandez said. "I believe he has two or three pro fights and he's undefeated. He's (5-foot, 9-inches) and he's right handed.
"We have been working on boxing him," Hernandez continued. "We don't know too much about him, but we've been working on different game plans and whatever he brings, I'm pretty positive I'll come out on top."
After beginning his boxing training at Tommy Rocque's 2XL Gym, in Dunkirk, Hernandez has been with Thompson since he was 15.
"Ever since I started (boxing), I've loved it," Hernandez said. "And I've kept going with it. Even when (Tommy) Rocque stopped his gym, I've still continued my dreams."
Boxing careers are not typically very long. The Bernard Hopkins' of the world are few and far between, so most pugilists need to be hard working, goal-oriented and have a plan in place if they hope to succeed.
"My main goal is to get about two or three fights this year," Hernandez said. "And by early next year, or mid next year, I hope to fight for a (New York) state title.
"I'll fight for a smaller title," Hernandez continued. "Which will get you recognized and help make a name for yourself. And hopefully, in two years, I'll be televised."
Support is another thing that boxers need, and Hernandez noted that was something his life is not short on.
"My family is very supportive," Hernandez said. "I've got three kids, one girl and two boys, and they love it when they see me training and see me fight, so that motivates me to make a better life for them and myself. It's kind of hard, but I've got to sacrifice now, so hopefully it pays off in the end."
To watch the fight online, visit www.WhiteHallAthleticClub.com.