By Mariano A. Agmi
Photos: David “Boricua” Infante/BoricuaPhotos.com
Twenty-two year old blue chip prospect Thomas Dulorme (16-0, 12 KOs) faces the stiffest test of his professional career on Saturday when he battles rugged Argentine Luis Carlos Abregu (33-1, 29 KOs) in a twelve round welterweight bout from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, live on HBO.
Sporting an amateur record of 140-2, Dulorme is the cornerstone of “Team Puerto Rico,” a group of boxers jointly promoted by Gary Shaw, Lou DiBella and Universal Promotions.
Dulorme, born in St. Martin but raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico, believes his wins over Harrison Cuello (KO 2), Charlie Navarro (W 9) and former WBO junior welterweight champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (W 10) have prepared him for the power punching Abregu, a limited but tough-as-nails Argentine who has only lost to current WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley.
Dulorme spoke with FightNews about his goals, his Puerto Rican identity, and the career that awaits him after boxing.
How is training going for Carlos Abregu?
We’ve had great training for this fight, we’re about to go to the gym and finish up our routine for this week and we’re very happy with our preparation and we’re ready for the fight.
Are you doing anything new or training with more intensity for this fight being that Abregu has lots of experience?
I always train hard, but we are training even more intensely for this fight. We’ve had a six week training camp, but we always train hard.
Marcos Maidana told me that he sparred with you when he trained in Puerto Rico a few fights ago. He spoke very highly of you. How did sparring go?
Yes, he sparred a little with me and it was a good match. Marcos is a really good guy.
What do you know of Carlos Abregu?
We’ve seen several of his fights – we can’t go by that, but we did see a few fights of his.
He has a style that is a little wild. How do you fight a guy with an unorthodox style like him?
We tried a few tactics in the ring that we think will work, but I think we’ll mostly be adjusting to what he does when we’re in the ring with him. I personally watched a few of his fights, but my trainer watched most of them and he is in charge of developing the fight strategy.
Do you feel that you have enough experience to face Abregu considering that he is a veteran of 34 fights and he only lost to Tim Bradley?
I think I have enough experience, not just to compete with him in the ring but also to beat him.
If you win this fight, you’ll be in position to fight for the belt that Floyd Mayweather Jr. vacated when he went up to junior middleweight. Is that what you intend to do? Do you feel that you’re ready for a title shot?
I’m ready now. We’re very focused on Carlos Abregu but if we beat him, we’re ready for a world title.
This year you graduated from college “Summa cum Laude” with a drafting degree. Are you going to dedicate yourself to this profession once your boxing career is over, or are you going to balance the two simultaneously?
I think it would be best to go back to school once my boxing career is over. At that point, I’ll continue with my drafting work. I do it as a hobby right now whenever I have time.
How did you balance your training with your studies?
It was a sacrifice, but the sacrifice was worth it if I wanted to better myself. It was a matter of setting time aside to study when I was not at the gym. It was difficult to do both but I was able to do it and now we’re fully focused on boxing.
How old were you when you came to Puerto Rico from St. Martin?
I was 7 or 8 when I came to Puerto Rico. When I got here I visited the gym, which is about 15 minutes from my house. I met Jose Bonilla there, and I been training with him ever since.
Was that the first time you were in a boxing gym?
No, before moving to Puerto Rico my family lived in the Dominican Republic. I first went to a boxing gym there and watched the fighters, but I didn’t train seriously. I ended up having a few amateur fights but it wasn’t until I got to Puerto Rico that I became serious about the sport and learned much more.
Do the people completely accept you as Puerto Rican?
Definitely, and I’m very happy and grateful that they accepted me as one of their own and for all of the support they show me.
Puerto Rico has a rich boxing history, from Wilfred Benitez and Wilfredo Gomez to contemporary greats like Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon. Is your goal to reach that level of success in the ring, or would you be satisfied with winning a world title and defending it a few times considering you have another career waiting for you?
My goal is not just to win a world title. I want my name to go down in history as one of the great champions, and I want the people to remember me like those great fighters you mentioned.
That’s what I was hoping to hear. Who was your boxing idol when you were growing up?
Sugar Ray Leonard and Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
But you fight more like Tito, don’t you?
Yes, I liked his style of boxing a lot. Trinidad was a great champion and the people still love him here. Many boxers want to fight like Tito.
Any last words for your fans before the fight on Saturday night?
To all my fans, tune into the fight on October 27 between Thomas Dulorme and Carlos Abregu. It’s going to be a great show and I’m sure that I will beat Abregu. I did my work in the gym and I’m very focused. It’s going to be a great fight.
Follow the author on twitter @MannyBlanco.