MEDFORD, Ore. – Central Point boxer Mike Wilson has had matches in Tennessee, Mississippi, even Australia.
“I’ll go anywhere to fight,” said Wilson.
Wilson won’t have to travel quite as far for his next bout, just 70 miles up the road to Seven Feathers Casino. Wilson had a match there last August, and won by unanimous decision.
“There’s nothing like fighting in front of your home crowd,” said Wilson. “The place gets packed, I mean it’s just electrical in there. I mean the atmosphere, it really lifts you up.”
“Two thousand people, and most of the people are supporters of Mike,” said Jimmy Pedrojetti, Wilson’s friend and trainer. “It’s great to hear them chanting for Mike and rooting for him and I think he can feed of the energy.”
Wilson’s boxing career has taken him all across the country, and around the world, but it all started almost two decades ago when a 200 pound 12-year-old put on the gloves for the first time.
“I was just kind of an out of shape kid and stuff like that and was just always a fan of boxing and my mom dropped me off down there one day and it just stuck with me, you know,” said Wilson.
He quickly became one of the top young boxers in the Northwest. Wilson would go on to win three amateur national championships and be an Olympic alternate twice, beating the odds for someone from the Rogue Valley.
“You know you look on all the bout sheets and you got this guy from Atlanta fighting this guy from Chicago and this guy from New York fighting this guy from LA,” said Wilson. “You kind of got overlooked being from Oregon. You know, you’d here guys, oh, I’m fighting a guy from Oregon and they thought they had an easy fight and then you started making a name for yourself.”
In 2009, Wilson turned pro and has gone 8-0 since. With the exception of last year’s fight at Seven Feathers, those fights have meant a lot of travelling. He hasn’t had to log all those miles alone. With Wilson every step of the way is his trainer and long-time friend, Jimmy Pedrojetti.
“I look at it as, he’s my brother,” said Pedrojetti. “We’ve been all over the country, we’re talking about hours and weeks of tournaments. It’s a special relationship.”
“It’s just nice having somebody that, we’re both on the same page and you’re both looking out for each other’s best interests because what’s best for me is what’s best for him and vice versa,” said Wilson.
Sparring with and against Wilson for a decade and a half, Pedrojetti knows Wilson’s strengths as well as anyone.
“The main thing is his jab is very strong,” said Pedrojetti. “And it just slams you. When I’m holding the mitts, holding the pads, you can just feel the power of that jab.”
If all goes according to plan, Wilson’s opponent, Rayford Johnson, will be able to relate after this Saturday.