Brandon White: The Three-Time U.S. National Champion Looking To Become A World Champion
By Cameron Temple
On 14th October 2017, the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, played host to a history making world title triple header, with all the world title bouts being fought in the same division, super welterweight.
One of the world title clashes on the night was between Jarrett Hurd and Austin Trout, in which, unfortunately for Austin, he was retired by his cornermen at the end of the 10th round.
However, as is often the case in life, there was a silver lining for Austin, as, in the camp for this fight, he discovered a potential future flyweight star and a man he now calls his mentee, Brandon White, 29.
Brandon’s amateur trainer, who also knew Austin, introduced the two men, when he brought Brandon down to the former world champion’s camp for the Jarrett Hurd fight.
“I went down just to be around a professional camp,” Brandon said, “not to actually spar Austin, because he’s way bigger than me. They had a professional flyweight at that gym who was 13-0 and I did very well against him. I actually stopped him the first time we sparred and I only had three amateur fights at the time.
“Austin saw me and he was very impressed. He was shocked when I said I was fighting at the nationals and that I was an amateur and he said that I could turn pro.
“He told me to give him a call when I decided to turn pro,” Brandon continued, “because he was starting a promotional company or if not, he could just help manage and guide me the right way. So, I waited a year and then I gave him a call to ask him if he was still available to help me out and ever since then he’s been a man of his word.”
The two men have subsequently become great friends and Brandon is eternally grateful for all the help that Austin has given him.
“He’s my manager, advisor, and mentor. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never turned pro. He’s been like a big brother inside and outside of the ring. Sometimes he even trains me when he has the chance, when he’s not training himself and he watches me in the gym to make sure I’m doing the right things.
“I don’t know what I would be like without him. I’m not even good at talking, but he’s taught me how to speak out loud and in interviews and stuff like that, showing me what to say and what not to say.”
Brandon even had the chance to box on Austin’s undercard in his last fight, which Brandon described as the highlight of his career:
“It was a televised fight and there were the big lights and I always wondered how I would perform with the lights, whether I’d freeze or not. It wasn’t my best performance, because I had the flu that fight, but it was a definitely a highlight because my son and my children came and that was the first fight they’ve come to.”
As well as Austin Trout, Brandon has had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with and gaining knowledge from some of the greats of the sport, such as Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Sr.
“That was fun.” Brandon said, “I went to the Mayweather gym with Austin and he was training with Floyd Sr. It was just another level, because some of the guys weren’t fast, but they had good timing and it was different for me, skill wise, but I held my own in there. Boxing at the Wildcard gym was the best though, because I got a lot of sparring from a lot of different people with a lot of different styles.”
Having tough sparring and gaining experience has been especially important for Brandon, originally from Rock Hill, South Carolina, as he came to boxing very late.
It was not until his early twenties that he first stepped into a boxing gym, as he explained, “I actually just went for fitness and because I had a cousin who was an amateur boxer. I was going and just hitting the bags and playing around. One of the coaches saw that I was pretty fast and he asked me if I wanted to compete, but I didn’t want anything serious. After two months, I decided to go ahead and compete and I did pretty well.”
‘Pretty well,’ seems like a fairly modest assessment from Brandon considering he won three national titles in just seven fights as an amateur.
“I was in the deep end from the very start as an amateur.” Brandon said, “In my third fight, I fought somebody with 127 fights and it was a shutout. I didn’t knock them out, but I dropped them in the second round and it was just a complete shutout.”
Brandon’s amateur pedigree suggests he has what it takes to achieve his lofty ambitions in the professional ranks:
“I want to be world champion and probably in multiple weight divisions, because I know I can go up in weight if I really want to. I also want to leave a mark and for people to see me as a role model.”
“I started late and I haven’t been boxing for that long,” Brandon continued, “so winning a world title would say a lot. The money is going to come whenever it’s supposed to come. I’ve got people like Austin in my corner and he’s going to make sure that gets handled. So, my vision right now is to remain undefeated and get a world title.”
In terms of Brandon’s style, his previous nickname ‘la sombra,’ meaning ‘the shadow’ says it all.
“When I was in Mexico, in las Cruces, I had a lot of Mexican sparring partners and they were saying I was hard to hit like a shadow, and ‘sombra’ means shadow in Spanish, so that’s how they came up with that.
“I’d be there to hit, but by the time they swing I’m not there anymore.”
Nowadays, Brandon’s nickname is the ‘Great White,’ and hopes that his slick boxing skills will soon allow him to live up to that name, by mixing it with the best in the world:
“I feel skill wise I can go with the lot of them, but I also know you can’t bite off more than you can chew. Boxing is a process and you have to learn.
“The top guys have tons of experience, they’ve got a lot of amateur and pro experience, and I’m barely getting out of fighting four rounders. I feel like when my time comes, I can definitely go with those guys and beat them.”
While Brandon admitted to not being familiar with some of the big names in his division, as in his words, he’s still “wet behind the ears” when it comes to boxing, there was one man he did mention.
“Someone whose name holds a lot of weight in the division is Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. I kind of hate that he’s lost already, because ever since I was an amateur, I wanted to be the first one to beat him. I think a win against him would still be big though because of who he is.
“I just have to see as my career goes on, because it’s only four years since I’ve been boxing in total. Whoever the top dogs are when I’m 12-0 or 15-0, then I can say, but right now I don’t know. I just know that in the flyweight division the belts change hands a lot.”
As for the future, Brandon, who fights out of El Paso, Texas, wants to remain as active as possible, even admitting he hopes to fight as often as every month next year.
“Hopefully I can get some bigger names and move up in the rankings and by the beginning of 2022 I fight for a world title. Lord granting, I should be about 15-0 by that time, so I could fight for a title in 2022.”
Brandon also revealed that he hopes to fight in the UK at some point in his career:
“I would love to fight over there. I’ve seen Anthony Joshua and Ricky Hatton’s fights on YouTube and the crowds and energy is incredible, with that kind of energy I could probably get a first-round knockout.
“Even if the crowd is against me, I thrive off of that kind of energy. I would have a ball there.”