DeSanto makes pro boxing debut
By David Shaw
Dominic DeSanto began painting on a larger canvas last weekend ó and made it look easy.
The 18-year old welterweight from Spencer engineered a seamless transition from the amateur to professional boxing ranks July 26 when he recorded a first-round technical knockout in his pro debut.
“Surprised? Not at all,” a straight-faced DeSanto said after leveling Tabron Farmer of Norfolk, Va., in two minutes flat at Charlotte’s Southwest Middle School. “Why would I be? We trained hard. Our preparation was thorough. What happened wasn’t a surprise. It’s what was expected.”
Right there you have a snapshot of the only life DeSanto has known. There has always been a plan in place, a well-scripted storyline with an anticipated outcome.
“This is what I’ve been doing since Day 1,” said DeSanto, a quick-fisted left-hander. “Since the day I was born, this has been my dream. There was never a question of if I would get here. It was always ‘When I got here.’ ”
A veteran of 100 amateur bouts ó each arranged and managed by his devoted father and long-time trainer, David ó DeSanto’s journey to the bigs has been meticulously plotted. Since he first stepped into the ring 11 years ago, he’s won 80 percent of his fights and captured state, regional and national titles.
“Dominic was born into boxing,” said David, a New Haven, Conn. native who works out of Force Fitness in Spencer. “As a kid he was always in the gym with me. When other kids were playing in sandboxes, he was training to fight. It’s what he knows.”
By age 7, Dominic expressed an interest in fighting competitively. David took him to an amateur boxing show, “just so he could see it close up and live.”
Dominic took the bait and was immediately hooked.
“It brought me closer to my dad,” he said. “Who doesn’t want that? When I’m in that ring, he’s right there with me. We’re always a team, me and him.
“And our team has pretty much stomped everyone so far.”
Now they’re a professional team ó and one to watch.
“He was ready for this,” David said. “He’s got the speed, the power and the reflexes. He’s the total package. You know, 11 years as an amateur and he’d already fought the best kids in the country and done extremely well. It would have been kind of redundant to fight another 150 over the next year or two.
“This is just a different stripe on the same animal.”
So Team DeSanto took a well-measured leap and turned professional. Dominic weighed in at 1441/2 pounds for his scheduled four-round debut against Farmer. Some 90 boisterous well-wishers from the Salisbury-Spencer area, including Spencer mayor Jody Everhart and his wife, helped fill the stands.
“I have to say, seeing all those people from home made me excited,” Dominic said. “But definitely not nervous. Everything I’d ever done was leading to that moment, my first pro fight. This is what I do.”
Farmer found out the hard way. DeSanto spent the bout’s first stages calculating his attack, circling the ring and exchanging a few introductory jabs.
“I was very confident, ” he said. “I knew I was going in there to destroy. That’s what the game is.”
Was it ever. At the one-minute mark DeSanto exploded, like a Rottweiler lunging at a chain-link fence, and flattened Farmer with a vicious left hook.
“I set him up,” he explained. “I saw he was flinching to the right a lot. So I went with right hook to feign him in. He dipped into the left hook and it was open.”
Seconds later the scene repeated itself ó only this time DeSanto used a flashing right to drop Farmer for the second time.
“By then I knew he was looking for the right,” DeSanto said. “I’d hurt him twice with it.”
The bout came to an abrupt end after DeSanto retreated to a neutral corner, received directions from his father and immediately delivered a head-snapping left uppercut to the jaw that staggered Farmer. Referee Bill Clancy had no choice but to end the fight.
“It lifted his whole body,” David observed. “It got him.”
Afterward, Dominic raised his arms toward the local contingent and absorbed their cheers ó a moment he’ll always cherish.
“They showed me love; I showed them respect,” he said. “Yeah, I’m the one in there fighting. But I’m doing it for all the people who helped me get there.”
DeSanto, a 2008 North Rowan graduate enamored with boxing great Jack Dempsey, expects to fight again Aug. 30 in Charlotte. David knows matchups will be tougher to book as his son’s reputation grows, but the current plan calls for 10-15 bouts by next summer.
“He’s still has to take some lumps and give some lumps,” David said. “He still has to face those kids from New York City and Philly and Jersey. Dominic’s still an unknown ó a white, Italian kid from North Carolina. Once he starts giving those guys a hard time, this thing’s really gonna take off.”
They couldn’t have scripted a better start.