On Friday, ESPN2 will telecast live from The Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington. The ten round main event will be a WBC Continental Americas middleweight title fight between heralded Tureano Johnson (14-1, 8 KOs) and little known Mike Gavronski (14-0-1, 11 KOs). Gavronski is an interesting case. A five-time Washington State Golden Glove champion, Gavronski’s pro career got off to a very slow start. Trouble with local promoters, managers, and trainers seemed to follow the young man around. Eventually Gavronski would gravitate toward Sam DiTusa, a Seattle Policeman who has worked with some of the Northwest’s best fighters.
“The beginning was very rocky,” said DiTusa. “Mike was as hard as advertised to deal with. I threw him out of the gym several times, but I always saw something more then the talent in him. I really wanted to try and stick it out with the kid. He has some very good qualities that you don’t see in men anymore like courage, toughness, and loyalty.”
Gravonski quickly showed his wares as he rolled off 12 straight victories. What’s amazing is the fact that Gravonski, who fights July 11th as a 160-pounder, has fought all his fights at 168 or higher. DiTusa explains it this way. “I always told Mike we would fight anyone within reason. Being up in the corner of nowhere, a guy can’t be picky on weight issues or he might as well man the drive up window.”
With that as the plan, Gravonski was shipped to DiTusa’s hometown of Chicago where he prospered for five fights under John Nocita, and taking advantage of the last name to build a fan base in the Windy Cities Polish community. Training camp has been split between Chicago and Seattle, and Gavronski is in the best shape of his life mentally as well as physically.
Now the quiet Gravonski preps for the biggest fight in his career. He has learned the pro game, become a more polished product in and out of the ring, and understands the importance of the moment. “I know people are looking past me when it comes to this fight with Tureano. It’s OK though. I never put much emphasis on what others say. I’m confident in my abilities.”
All that remains is for the opening bell to ring on Friday night.