In an age where heavyweight boxing is once again a hot division. The question is still asked, who will be that next Mike Tyson like knockout artist? Or has sports like football and basketball taken the best big men away from boxing?
Enter James “The Beast” Wilson.
Wilson has all the attributes of the above mentioned qualities. A terrific athlete, who was in an NFL training camp with a background in fighting that displays ferocious power.
Wilson, who just signed with Golden Boy Promotions, has a record of 8-0 with seven knockouts, but his story begins over 20 years ago in the streets of Los Angeles.
Wilson was going through hard times and was homeless between the ages of 13 and 15, where he was sleeping in motels, park benches, and showering in those parks. Wilson had a scrape with the law, and that changed his life….for the better.
“I was locked up and then placed in a group. That actually got me to have structure and placed me on the right track. I did well in school and started playing sports and now I had positive options in my life,” said Wilson.
Wilson became the Los Angeles Times High School Football Player of the year, as well as a three-time all-city Track & Field athlete, which earned him a scholarship to Concord University in West Virginia.
Wilson, who graduated with a degree in sociology, then went on to play professional football in of all places, Poland.
After that he earned a training camp invite with the Chicago Bears. However he chose to follow another athletic passion.
“I started doing Kenpo-Karate, Muay-Thai and Kickboxing.” Wilson had a professional Kickboxing record of 16-2-1 where he competed in top organizations such as K-1 and Glory.
After that, Wilson tried his hand at MMA and racked up an impressive 5-2 record and fought for the highly regarded Bellator Fighting Championships.
Still not satisfied, Wilson started boxing.
Wilson again traveled the globe and began his punching for pay career in New Zealand.
“I knew a promoter in New Zealand, and I was able to fight every week there. That sped up my process and development. I came back to Los Angeles, and was able to get four more wins.”
At 7-0, Wilson then met longtime boxing industry player, Jared Shaw.
Shaw saw videos of Wilson on his Instagram account, and reached out to the undefeated heavyweight.
“Jared contacted me, and met at the gym, and he had the same vision for me that I had, and the rest is history.”
“I saw James as a diamond in the rough,” said Shaw. “He has the combination and speed and power that you do not see in the heavyweight division. He has that “it” factor that I saw with Kimbo Slice. I was fortunate enough to have signed Kimbo off of the fights that were seen on Youtube. When Kimbo entered a room, you felt presence and energy. I see a lot of the same qualities in terms of James being that type of an attraction. Anybody who mistaken’s James for a football player or a Mixed Martial Artist will surely have their hands full in the boxing ring. This is a blue-chip athlete, ” said Shaw, who grew up in the sport as his father Gary Shaw has been one of the top promoters in the world for the past three decades.
Shaw’s 1st job was to get James with the right trainer. Enter Justin Fortune.
“I have known Justin for a long time. Both as a strength and conditioning coach and as a trainer. Most would know him at the side of Manny Pacquiao, but perhaps most people don’t know that Justin was a heavyweight prospect who fought Lennox Lewis. What I like most about this pairing is Justin was a shorter heavyweight as well, but a powerful puncher. His years of experience is what is going to help James accelerate his growth in the sport. As a team, we have a goal to bring a world championship back to Los Angeles and in a timely fashion,” continued Shaw.
Shaw’s next move was to find the right promoter for Wilson to sign with, and the duo found one of the biggest companies in the world that was interested.
“A lot of promoters were looking at me. I met with Golden Boy, and they saw my talent and vision and I feel that they will make it happen for me, and take me to the Heavyweight championship of the world,” said Wilson.
Shaw spoke highly of the marriage between fighter and promoter.
“It is the perfect situation. Golden Boy Promotions is one of the leaders in our sport when it comes to promotion companies. In this situation, it worked out that you have a great prospect from Los Angeles fighting from a world renowned company based in Los Angeles. Right now Golden Boy is at the top of the sport. They promote arguably the top fighter in the world in Canelo Alvarez, and they were able to secure him an unprecedented deal with DAZN. We look forward to the opportunities that will come for James, and to showcase James’ extraordinary set of skills. I have the 100% confidence in Oscar (De La Hoya), Eric (Gomez) and Robert (Diaz) to lead James to the Heavyweight championship of the world, and help maximize his earnings potential. Los Angeles has never had a Heavyweight champion, so it makes perfect sense that the 1st one will be with a complete Los Angeles based team with James, Justin, Golden Boy and myself. ”
“What I would like people to know about James is that inside the ropes, he is a Beast and Human Highlight Film, so Don’t Blink. But outside of the ring, he is an incredible father to his three boys. A tremendous motivational speaker, and a positive role model to the inner-cities and the rest of the world. He is big on community and helping the youth. Especially those that are bullied.”
Wilson speaks to a lot of youngsters about Anti-Bullying. “I do a lot of speaking and seminars for anti-bullying. I go to a lot of schools and foster homes and tell them my story. I think I can be someone for kids to look up to and let them know that they have a future despite whatever circumstance they are in. I tell kids that your hands are weapons, your mouth is a weapon, and the pnly place for fighting is inside of a ring.”
When asked who he wants to fight and what his goals are in the sport, Wilson said, “I am not looking to fight anyone individual specifically, I am looking to fight all of them. Most importantly, I am here to give the fans something to watch. It is 365 days of “Beast” season. It’s Beast Mode or No Mode.”