Richardson Hitchins: Creating history one punch at a time
Combat sports are sometimes referred to as glorified chess matches with life altering consequences. The sport of Boxing is referred to as the sweet science. It is one of the oldest forms of sport in the world, first being recognized at the ancient Olympic Games by the Greeks in the late 7th century BC and established in its modern form at the 1904 Olympic games in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. It is also one of the oldest sports intertwined in American culture. Many celebrities, politicians, and other luminaries, both from home and abroad, have attended boxing matches across the country for decades upon decades, watching champions battle challengers in clashes that range from intellectual and masterful, to violent and sometimes gory.
But that is what makes boxing such an amazing sport. No two clashes will ever be the same. Some boxers are recognized by their wars, while others are recognized by their ability to masterfully outclass their opponents and dominate by quick knockout or by not being touched over the duration of the fight. One man that could be classified as the latter is Richardson Hitchens.
Richardson is a professional boxer currently signed to one of the biggest promoters in the sport, Mayweather promotions. You may recognize the name Mayweather. Yes, this is a company founded and run by one of the greatest boxers of all time, the undefeated Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and his top associates that he has retained over his boxing career. Richardson is also undefeated, with a record of 6 wins and no losses, with half of his wins coming by way of Knockout. Richardson boxes in the image of his mentor Floyd, with a fluidity to not be hit by his opponent, a speed and power game to strike at a moment’s whim with maximum damage, and switch from offense to defense and vice versa at the flick of a switch. Richardson is slowly becoming one of the top young prospects in the game today and Allo Ayiti got a chance to speak to the young king. Here’s what he had to talk to us about:
Can you give us a background on you as a person and your upbringing?
Richardson – “I am a Haitian- American, with both my mother and father of Haitian decent. I grew up in a little apartment in Queens until the age of five, then we moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, where I’ve been ever since. I grew up from a rough background, as most people would know. My mom was single. I was an only child growing up. I’m the oldest child now, but when I was younger, I always felt older. I didn’t really have other kids to play around with. I was always older. My mom was always working, and all the little things kids had, I never really had or could get. If I was lucky, I’d get two or three dollars to go to school every day. Sometimes, I’d have to go to school with no money and thug it out until after school, then ask people around the neighborhood for a dollar. I remember a dollar used to be a blessing. If I got a dollar from someone in school, it would be a good day. I had bed bugs and had to sleep on the couch because my mom didn’t have the money to get a new mattress. I had to beg my mom to buy new furniture because my friends would come over to my house and joke around, like “Your house is dirty.” and “Your furniture is fucked up.” Those are the things that try me and make me not ever want to go back.
I was always an outside kid. My mom didn’t have any control over me since she had a younger kid and I was the oldest. I was kind of raised by the streets. My mom is real Haitian, so the American lifestyle, she didn’t really know about that. So, I had to learn about it through the streets. Through trials and tribulations and learning what not to do. I was real hard headed, where I would go towards trouble instead of staying away from it and being smart like some other kids. I’d be that kid that was ten years old and be outside at one or two in the morning, roaming different hoods, and have school the next day. I’ve been an 11-year-old kid, jumped by other kids just for being in their neighborhood and not knowing you’re not supposed to hang out with other kids in other neighborhoods because they don’t know you. I had to grow up quick since my mom couldn’t teach me certain things, so I had to be self-taught and let the streets teach me. If I had a father growing up, that is someone that would have made a major impact and changed a lot of things in my life. He was probably the only male figure that had some say because he was still a male figure that I still had some respect for at a point in time, but as I got older and started noticing things, like I wasn’t getting the love that a kid should really be getting from their father, I stopped respecting him and what he said, like whatever. My father wasn’t there for me. I wouldn’t hear from him for like 8 months and he’ll try and come around for one day, and then I wouldn’t hear from him for another 6-7 months, so yeah.”
How’s your mom handling your success?
Richardson – “The success is good, but we haven’t gotten anything yet. I have success in terms of publicity and recognition, but it’s all about the future. The future isn’t here yet. I haven’t made it to Hollywood yet. I haven’t showed my mom Beverly Hills and all the best restaurants yet, so its whatever. I’m still grinding. But it’s cool. I could be in a worse situation. I was just telling my friend that it’s cool to walk past a designer store and see the new seasons sweat shirt and its $800 and if I really want it, I can buy it right there and not have to worry about what my bank account is going to look like the next day. I can do it, but I’m not focused on that. My focus is on being a world champion and being able to do that forever and live that lifestyle forever, after boxing. This is the chapter of my life where I’m on the come up. I’m young. I’m making the years count. You don’t get these years back. I want to build my legacy and just be one of the greatest to lace them up. I’m so much a student of the sport that I feel that if they I have a promising future now and I’m still learning, I can only imagine where I’ll be in another two years.”
How did you get into boxing?
Richardson – “I was in the street. I was always a kid that liked to fight. The streets where I came from, fighting was important. Where ever you go, it was always about fighting, especially me. I always loved to fight. I was always fighting bigger kids. So that’s why boxing is second nature. I’m never scared to fight someone bigger or whatever because I’ve been jumped before. I’ve been through so much pain. My mom got income tax money one year. I was 11 or 12. And I begged her to put me in a karate school. She could have paid for the first month, it was like $100 a month, so I started thinking about it, like “Yo she can pay for me to get one-month worth of lessons, but once it goes by, she can’t pay for me anymore and I’m going to get kicked out the school.” So, we took the train to the karate place, but we could not find it. God was not letting us go there. So, we took the train back, and that’s when I started watching Floyd (Mayweather). I was always obsessed with boxing, but I started watching Floyd and I was like ”I want to box!”
So, I started googling boxing gyms and I saw one of my old coaches’ son in the gym and saw this dude was nice. If I could fight like him, in the street, I’m knocking someone out. So, I had to find me a gym. I saw the name of a gym that same night, and I caught chills. I was like “Oh shit. Oh my God I can’t wait for it to be 3PM tomorrow so I can go find that gym.” I was like 12, so I took the train and just started roaming around trying to look for it. I found it and I walked in the gym and I remember a girl taught me my first boxing move. The next day I met my coaches and I asked “Yo could you get me some mitts?”. He said “What? Your crazy.” So I said, “Oh shit this guy is mean.” So, I walked away, and he told me to come back and get in the ring. I got in and he started teaching me footwork. He told me I have to be here (the gym) every day. And from there, I started beating kids in my gym. Then I got my first pair of boxing shoes and my boxing license, so I can fight competition. Then I started hearing about kids traveling out of state. The kids that used to fight in nationals, I’d google them and blow their inbox up on Facebook like “Yo how do I get good?!” Like regular fans do to me now. Then I started competing at nationals and I was like “Oh shit. I’m actually with these dudes. I’m keeping up.” I started making a name for myself and them kids were asking “Who’s that kid from New York? He can fight.” After that, I won my first national. From there, it was ballgame. This is what I’m doing. I’m becoming the best in this sport. I want the top spot. Once I saw all the kid’s I looked up to looking at me like “You can fight.”, I knew I was special. It’s like a pretty girl. When she walks the streets or walk in a room, attention just comes to her. I was always someone who would walk into a boxing gym and attention would come straight to me. From there, I always knew I was going to make a name for myself.”
Follow up question: I remember staying up late watching HBO and one fight that solidified my love of combat sports was watching Jose Luis Castillo and Diego “Chico” Corrales fight. Do you have an end all be all fight that you love?
Richardson – “Before boxing I remember watching Floyd vs (Juan Manuel) Marquez and Floyd vs Ricky Hatton. I never really cared about the atmosphere or any of that, but a fight I loved while in boxing was Floyd vs Miguel Cotto because I remember going to the press conference and that was the first time I saw Floyd in person and I was so big of a Mayweather fan that I felt a pressure that he has to win because I want him to win so bad, because he was undefeated and I didn’t want him to lose. That was a big fight. Once I started watching all the big fights, my coach would say “I can’t wait for you to get on that big stage.” And I’d shadow box and tell him what I’d do in the fight. “When I get to that stage I’m going to jab to the body. Boom. Uppercut. Boom.” And before I knew it, that time is here now. I’m on the way to that stage. So that’s crazy.”
What motivates you and pushes you to succeed at such a high level?
Richardson – “What motivated me before was always legacy. I always wanted to be the best. But what motivates me now is getting my fam out the struggle. When I come in come in the neighborhood, I always look at myself outside of the bunch. Being around Adrien Broner and Gervonta Davis (Former and currently boxing world champions also signed to Mayweather promotions), I’ve seen a lot of fly shit. A lot of cars. A lot of diamonds. A lot of girls. Some of the baddest girls. Then I started talking to those girls and going on dates with them when I started getting money and that motivated me, like damn let me get back on my grind. I want to live this type of lifestyle. But that’s only one side that motivates me. That’s me outside the gym when I’m not training. But when I’m in the grind and in the gym, what motivates me is being the best. When I see boxers coming up, I’m motivated to outdo them. I’m motivated to be that special one. I want to be special so bad and to live up to my expectations. That’s it! Living up to my expectations is what drives me to be great.”
How was it to fight for the Haitian national squad and represent the country?
Richardson – “I was only boxing on the Haiti Olympic team. To qualify was a lot of boxing but Haiti isn’t known to be a feared country like that. They didn’t have an Olympian since (Andre) Berto (Former 2004 Haitian Olympian and former professional world champion). When I went to the qualifiers, I had the American boxing background, but I was representing Haiti. So, I went to the qualifiers and I was the only one from Haiti to make it out the first day. So, I fought 7 days in a row. But when AIBA (Top Amateur boxing commission in the world) saw me beating all these huge countries like Russia, Asia, top seeds in the tournament, they were asking “Who’s this Haitian kid? He’s amazing.” And I remember the guy from AIBA came up to me and told me “I’ve never seen a Haitian kid fight this way.” Everyone thought I was from Haiti, but I was really American. It looked cheap, but I still put on for my country. I still come up for my country. So, it was really cool to experience that and fight different countries and get that Olympic experience. It boosted my confidence and my knowledge for the next level. I felt I experienced so much in so little time, it’s going to favor me in the pros.”
Follow up: Have you been to Haiti?
Richardson – “I was supposed to go for a few days before the Olympics, but I didn’t want to do too much traveling and then have to go back to Brazil to fight.”
Would you like to go visit? Any particular place you’d like to visit?
Richardson – “Yeah. Hopefully I do get to go to check it out. I don’t really have any place in mind right now.”
You have started your career in impressive fashion. What or who do you credit for such a successful start?
Richardson – “At the beginning of my career, I credit my first coach (Aureliano) Sosa. I give him big credit. I give a lot of credit to Pat Russo. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. And now, as competition has gotten more serious, my couch Leonard Wilson. I definitely want to give him a lot of credit because he has helped me hone my craft and bring out a lot. He’s added things to my arsenal. I feel like I would have been one of those kids that would have been great no matter what, because I was so hungry. I want to learn so bad. So, you could have put me with my little brother, and had him train me, and I would have found a way to be great.”
Do you have any particular fighter or fighters that you model your style off of? Doing research on your bouts, have very sharp combinations, good hand speed, KO power, and, as you showed in your last fight in September, you are able to show variety between attacking the head and body. What say you?
Richardson - “Who would you say it looked like?”
It’s tough man (laughs). I’d have to really sit down and analyze some of the other boxers to see?
Richardson – “I hear a lot from my friends and Leonard Ellerbe (President of Mayweather promotions and key confidant to Floyd Mayweather) that I remind them of Floyd Mayweather and that’s who I always look at. That’s the number one guy I always look at. I study him religiously. Like schoolwork. I’d say I have like 80% of him in me. But I definitely watch a lot of fighters. I watch Andre Ward (Former pound for pound king, 2004 Olympic gold medalist, multi weight, multi time world champion). Andre was definitely someone I watched a lot. And all the fighters I grew up around in the New York area that in the gym with. I stole some of their stuff coming up the amateurs. But my overall style, I look up to Floyd Mayweather a lot.”
What goals do you have as a professional boxer?
Richardson – “I want to become boxing royalty. I want to make a lot of money. I want to be someone who fought the biggest fights in the sport. I want to go to the hall of fame as one of the best ever. My biggest goal is to be a star, in and out the ring.”
Is there one goal out of the ones you mentioned that stands out as a do or die for your career?
Richardson – “Become rich as f**k. You can’t die with the belts. You can’t give that to your family. As much as any fighter loves this sport; I want to be the best in this sport, you can’t die with the belts. I can’t give that to my daughter or my son or my mother or my brother when I’m gone. But I can leave things behind. So, I want to be boxing royalty. I want to be the cash cow of boxing. I want the big fights and the big checks. That’s the goal.”
You are currently signed to one of the top promotions in all of boxing, Mayweather Promotions. What is it like training with the elite fighters the stable has to offer and being in such a rich environment?
Richardson – “It’s motivating. Like I said, you see the flyest girls, the flyest jewelry, everything. You see how they are living. I’ve never seen anyone around me in my whole life spend money like that and live like that. Just so much power. You see how much power comes with that life. I can’t even explain it. You can hear a whole Drake album 10 times. He raps about that life. But until you experience it, it’s a whole different experience. I saw it all before, but to be around it? To see how people act and gravitate towards you. Seeing someone walk in the store and buy stuff that people in the hood would kill to be that young buying that. It’s motivating. Even being around Floyd. To see how he lives, to see the cars, his crib. To walk into his garage. The air around them smells different. It doesn’t even smell like regular air. It’s the lifestyle. And it’s something I’m far from. I don’t want to only see or live that lifestyle. I had to shy away from it. Like, it’s cool to know y’all, but I need this for myself. I need to do what it takes to make this mine. I’m in it for keeps. I want it all.”
Anyone in the stable your boy. Someone you consider a day 1 you vibe with most?
Richardson – “Shakur Stevenson (2016 Olympic silver medalist for USA and top ranked professional boxing prospect). That’s like my brother. In and out the ring. It’s family. If I’m not home, he stay at my apartment for the whole year. My mom and my brother are there. That’s cool. That’s personal. But I rock with people in boxing, but don’t really rock with too many people. Dudes be hating and there are so many weirdos. Guys live their own life, so I don’t focus on what others are doing. Even with me and Shakur. The main thing we have in common is boxing, but we’ve lived together for months. We grew up from when we were kids. It’s bigger than just boxing with him.”
Are there any fighters you have your sights set on for future bouts? Any particular locations you’d like to box?
Richardson – “There’s a lot of big fights. I see me and Devin Haney (20-0, 13 KO’s) being a big fight in another six years. Me and Virgil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KO’s) would be a big fight. It could be anybody. But in terms of up and coming fighters, those would be the fights. If it had to be an old head, it could even be me and Adrien (Broner) (38-3, 24 KO’s). It would be a big fight if he’s on his way out. There’s a lot of big fights that I always have in my head that I know in the near future, that’s who’s going to be on my radar. In terms of locations, the U.K. I think I’d make a lot of bankroll over there and I have a lot of U.K fans. I feel they love boxers and I think I’m on the way to being a master boxer and they’ll like my style.”
If you were not a boxer, what could you see yourself doing career wise?
Richardson – “What I want to be? A rapper (laughs). I grew up in the hood, I want that Meech lifestyle (laughs). But whatever I would have done, I still would have wanted that life style I’ve seen. I didn’t start boxing for money. I wouldn’t take any fight just for the money. I’m in the gym to be great, but at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to get paid? You only box for one night. You box for 36 minutes and you go into an offseason after that. Then you got to wait for another fight. But those days off, do you want to live in the gym still? You want to enjoy the fruits of your labor.”
When is your next fight and how can we see it?
(Editor’s note: At time of interview, no opponent or specific location had been determined. Since the interview was conducted, Richardson’s fight is on the Manny Pacquiao – Adrien Broner Showtime PPV undercard on January 17th in Las Vegas)
How long are your fight camps normally?
Richardson – “I start locking down at around 6 weeks out.”
I want to go back for a second. Do you have a timeline as to where you want to be? Titles, fights, etc.?
Richardson – “Hell Yeah! If Mayweather promotions got me fighting, as active as I want to be, by Fall 2019, I want to be in world title talk. I want to be hearing “This kid is almost ready for a title shot.” I want to be ranked in the top 10 for a belt by this time next year. But I got to be more active. If not, 2021 I HAVE to have a world title or I’m going to be very upset.”
How often do you want to fight? 3-4 times a year?
Richardson – “I want to fight like 6 times a year. That’s 12 months. It isn’t anything. I just fought three weeks ago (editor’s note: at time interview was conducted). I’m ready to fight right now. I don’t have shit to do. I can get ready for a fight right now. It’s what we do. I spar everyday 8 rounds, I might as well do it so it counts. Like I told you earlier, I’m young, so I don’t want to waste my youth when I can do that.”
Where can people follow you on social media?
Written By Ethan Ayala