Franchon Crews-Dezurn Returns to the Ring, Bigger Than Ever
SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 29, 2020 – WBC and WBO Super Middleweight women’s champion Franchon “The Heavy Hitting Diva” Crews-Dezurn is so connected to her fans, she let them decide what name she should wear on her trunks when she returns to the ring on Saturday, January 2’s Golden Boy card on DAZN. The card starts at 3 pm ET/12 noon PT.
Fans chose “Big Mama” over “Crews-Dezurn,” and she’s going with it.
“They’re into fight week, that’s fun for me,” said Crews-Dezurn. “They already branded it for me. It’s important – they’re the ones that are going to come and watch the fight. I just want to be authentic and have fun.”
Crews-Dezurn is back Saturday after a memorable 2020
Like many athletes, Crews-Dezurn was sidelined for much of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her single bout in January 2020 resulted in a rough and tumble brawl with former heavyweight competitor Alexandra Jiménez of Mexico. It ended in a split decision loss, but when Jiménez failed a drug test for a banned substance, she was stripped of the titles, and they were returned to Crews-Dezurn.
Crews-Dezurn admits it was a traumatic experience, which included having her extensions come loose and ripped off her head mid-bout by trainer Barry Hunter. It should have been a warning about 2020 in general. But she says she walked away and defeated it instead of letting it defeat her while learning a few things from the experience.
“First and foremost, I learned to make sure my hair is secure,” laughed Crews-Dezurn. “Number two, say no to drugs. Number three, believe in yourself and don’t let nobody take shit from you.
“I learned so much about myself. I took on the personality of being the Black Phoenix and rose from the ashes. When you look up and from the perspective of a Black Woman, I feel more powerful than ever.”
Crews-Dezurn spent the rest of 2020 staying fit while working toward her college degree. While others were baking sourdough bread, Crews-Dezurn also got into some home improvement projects, picking up the power tools alongside her longtime love of sewing and fashion design.
Now she’s ready to push toward a lasting legacy in the ring. “I want to be undisputed. I want to seal my legacy. I’m very excited for 2021,” said Crews-Dezurn.
This isn’t the best news for her opponent. Crews-Dezurn (6-1, 2 KOs) will face American Ashleigh Currie of St. Louis (8-13-4, 1 KO) in an eight-round non-title fight on the Garcia vs. Campbell undercard. Crews-Dezurn should roll over Currie, and few would argue she deserves a tune-up to start 2021, given her roller coaster ride of a year ago.
“Hopefully, I can bring some kind of entertainment and take peoples’ minds off what’s going on,” said Crews-Dezurn. She was originally scheduled to return on December 5, and she was willing to return without any fans. She returned home to Baltimore to continue train with Hunter, and then trained at home with her husband and fellow professional boxer Glenn. “I’m lucky my husband is active and my training partner. I can fight in a back alley or the biggest stage in the world. I know what it takes to be great and be a champion.”
There will be a limited number of people in the seats at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. “It’s on Ryan Garcia’s card. It’s going to have fans! This will be full circle. This will be my coming out as the Black Phoenix.”
The future of boxing is female
Crews-Dezurn watched women’s boxing flourish with fans during the pandemic shutdown, and she wants in. “People were getting excited to see us fight. We have value, we have marketability.” As long as promoters put the talent in the ring, “We’ll get more support from the fans, we’ll get more support from the people. It will benefit everyone. It will generate more income for the promoter. We just have to continue building our brand and showing our skill every time we step out,” said Crews-Dezurn.
Although she is now signed with respected manager Peter Kahn of Fight Team Advisors, Crews-Dezurn remains aggressively DIY about her own brand promotion. This Saturday, she will debut a new partnership with the nationwide Joann Fabrics stores, which connected to her on Instagram. She suggested they help her out with her next uniform. “They said, ‘we’d love to!’ I’ll have a beautiful uniform and a relationship. I’m excited for that. I’m the only boxer sponsored by a fabric company.” Crews-Dezurn has previously designed ring costumes for other fighters and plans to continue. “That’s my sanity!” she says of sewing.
Crews-Dezurn understands the need for an athlete to relate to fans and be comfortable in her own skin through highs and lows. She keeps her head on her shoulders by listening to her own voice and by being willing to be her authentic self. “I’m glad I don’t have a whole lot of different voices. There are voices I will listen to, but at the end of the day, I follow my heart, and I listen to my own. I’ve been doing this so long by myself, my way. I’ve built a big callus against what other people say. As long as I’m happy, that’s what matters. I don’t know any other way to be. I’m just being Franchon. People have seen me at my highest and at my lowest.”
Imperfectly perfect role model
Asked if she sees herself as a role model, Big Mama accepts the role, but in her own imperfectly perfect way. “As I got older and observed things and had coming out parties like my last fight, I just want to be real. Some days I’m not happy, but I’m figuring out life like everybody else. We see the perfect people. I want to be one of those non-perfect people. That’s cool – that’s why we relate so much. But I give perfect effort!”
Crews-Dezurn promises one perfect thing about her fight this Saturday – her hair won’t be a factor this time. No extension. “I’m wearing some braids, I’m tying it down, I want people to see my pretty face,” laughed Crews-Dezurn. Right along with her pounding fists.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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