SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 3, 2019 – If WBC super middleweight women’s boxing champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn doesn’t have “Carpe Diem” tattooed on herself somewhere, she should.
Crews-Dezurn’s resume extends far beyond her life as a professional athlete. You might believe she’s found a way to log more than 24 hours in a day. Instead, Crews-Dezurn says it’s all about perseverance. “God gives us strength. I just keep going. I don’t know any other way. I work better under pressure – same as my fights.”
Known as “The HH (for Heavy Hitting) Diva” in the ring, Crews-Dezurn won her title in an upset defeat of Maricela Cornejo in Las Vegas last September, wearing a ring outfit she designed and created herself. The newly crowned champion then changed into a glamorous dress, also of her creation, with the WBC green belt draped over her. Did we also mention Crews-Dezurn was acting as her own promoter and manager at the time?
Crews-Dezurn goes big or goes bigger
Meanwhile, Crews-Dezurn is pursuing her college degree in small business management, concentrating on entrepreneurship. She is a woman who doesn’t like to sit still. “I don’t want to be just the best fighter in the world,” Crews-Dezurn said. “I want to make something of myself. I like everything big – my personality, my hair,” she laughed. Big like trying out for “American Idol” in 2005 – the season won by Carrie Underwood.
Thanks to her go big or go home attitude, Crews-Dezurn got the attention of Golden Boy Boxing’s matchmaker Eric Gomez, and she can now hand her promoter duties over to her new team. “A lot of people had followed my journey when I announced I signed with Golden Boy,” said Crews-Dezurn. “They were happier than I was – it was refreshing to me. I felt others shared in my win, too.”
Crews-Dezurn calls the opportunity her vision coming true, especially the opportunity to work with former world champion and Olympic gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya. “Not only am I working with people passionate about the culture of boxing, I have aspirations they understand.”
Boxing ambitions may lead to her rival and friend Shields
Crews-Dezurn is coming off her first win under the GBP banner, a fifth round stoppage of Kayla Williams on June 20 in Atlantic City. “I knew what I wanted to do and what was going to happen,” said Crews-Dezurn. “I’m very competitive. I’m used to getting things the hard way.
“I only have six fights. I still want to be growing. This was something I needed to see where I’m at. They say I was the fight of the night! It was a good fight,” said Crews-Dezurn.
The HH Diva’s only loss came in her first professional bout in 2016 to current middleweight champion Claressa Shields. The fight was far closer than reflected on the scorecards. Crews-Dezurn remains friendly with Shields and has also designed her ring gear.
Her first ‘client’ was her husband, super bantamweight pro Glenn Dezurn. “My husband was my muse; he’s my first client. He gave me confidence,” said Crews-Dezurn. “I’ve dressed world champions, prospects, and amateurs. My resume’s nice! I’m a diva, I love fashion, I love creating.” Crews-Dezurn said she hopes to design and present her own mini-collection someday. “Project Runway,” watch out. “No, I know my limitations,” laughed Crews-Dezurn.
It’s easy to imagine Crews-Dezurn and Shields crossing paths in the ring again. While Shields currently reigns at middleweight, it wouldn’t be a stretch for her to come after Crews-Dezurn for the chance to win a title in another division. But it’s not likely right away, as Shields has ambitions to go after champions in the smaller divisions such as Cecelia Braekhus, and if Shields is going to drop in weight, she needs to do it sooner rather than later.
Learning from victories and mistakes alike
Crews-Dezurn hasn’t had opportunities handed to her, and she admits to plenty of “falling on her face” mistakes. “I’ve had trials, I’ve been down. I see what my husband goes through. He gives love and strength to me. I think he’s strong and he thinks I’m strong. We’re not together just from boxing. We’re best friends. If I didn’t box, I’d still be in his corner.”
Crews-Dezurn also understands her opportunity to be a role model on multiple fronts. She has been an advocate for women’s boxing for a decade since her amateur days. “I was pushing women’s boxing forward then, into the Olympics. We were getting into the Olympics to show that talent,” said Crews-Dezurn. She sees a change in skill level finally starting to win the women respect within the sport.
Crews-Dezurn lives and trains in her home town of Baltimore with the respected Barry Hunter, who has been with her from the beginning. “As far as being a pro, I just live my life. It’s not perfect. When you know better, you do better.”
Standing for women through body positivity
At age 28, Crews-Dezurn says if she could talk to her younger self, she’d be even further along in reaching all her goals. “When you have talent, you believe in it – but you have to cultivate it, too.
“People put doubt into me. For me, now that I am in the spotlight being a role model, I have role models I look up to … There are a few I hone in on. Serena Williams and her body issues. Beyonce, going from a group to stepping up and taking the reins of her career, as a wife and a mother. These are women I relate to,” said Crews Dezurn.
“People try to fat shame me. I can show you pictures when I had abs. But that’s just motivation – when I step out the next time, I’m going to be the bomb. I’m still winning. You don’t need six pack abs to get it done. I represent a large demographic. Claressa (Shields) also gets a lot of flack (like me). Yes, she’s thick, but she’s an athlete!” said Crews-Dezurn. Both have got the championship belts to prove it.
“I’m not satisfied,” said Crews-Dezurn. “I put in a lot of work, but my heart isn’t satisfied. I’ve been in boxing my entire life, but I feel my career has just started. I have goals to achieve, and I want to see the best version of myself.”
The HH Dive ready for any test in or out of the ring
For now, Crews-Dezurn is focusing on finishing her college degree while staying in shape in the gym with her husband. “I’m working out with him. That’s the advantage of being with another boxer. We stay together working out.
“As a woman in a male-dominated sport with a male hierarchy, the men do listen to me. Bernard (Hopkins), Eric (Gomez), they know what I want them to do with me.
“I’m only an expert at being Franchon Crews. Eric says there’s going to be some exciting things. Maybe in August or September, we’ll sit down and see what we’re going to do.” In the meantime, Crews Dezurn says she’s available for color commentary work on Golden Boy’s Fight Night productions. “I’ve done commentating in Maryland. Maybe Golden Boy might let me commentate,” laughed Crews-Dezurn.
Crews-Dezurn lives for the journey, not the destination. “It’s a process. Anything worth having is worth working for and being patient for. Things might not happen when I want it to happen, but it will happen until it needs to happen.”
“I didn’t pick this diva life it picked me. I’ve built a brand around it – it’s what I am. A diva is a boss, and a diva is a lady who knows what she wants and is unapologetic about it,” said Crews-Dezurn. No one who knows The HH Diva would dare fight with her on this.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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