It’ll be an All-American showdown when Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe Jr. (17-1, 6 KOs) takes on Brandon “The Cannon” Adams (14-0, 9 KOs) in the finals of the Boxcino middleweight tournament this Friday at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for both fighters, who’ve each had to defeat two opponents in just two months to get here.
Monroe Jr.’s father and uncle were also prize fighters and he’ll be competing a short drive from his hometown of Rochester, where he was raised and trained by his grandfather Lee Monroe. His pedigree and extensive amateur career makes him one of the tourneys more seasoned boxers; whereas Adams is the opposite.
At just 24-years-old the Watts, LA resident was the youngest Boxcino entry. But that hasn’t stopped him from impressing ESPN “Friday Night Fights” analyst Teddy Atlas—who raved about Adams throughout his first two bouts. In the quarterfinals he stopped veteran Daniel Edouard (23-5-2, 14 KOs); he then convincingly defeated Raymond Gatica (14-3, 9 KOs) in the semis.
“Adams is a powerhouse and you have to give credit where it’s due,” said Monroe Jr. “He was the least experienced fighter in the tournament and he beat the most experienced fighter in the opening bout. He then put on a great performance against the strong and awkward Gatica. He’s shown his ability to be able to adapt and execute, so May 23 should be a super explosive and entertaining fight.”
Monroe Jr. is training for the biggest bout of his professional career in Florida; where the weather is better and his trainer Tony Morgan lives. This is his fifth camp in the sunshine state.
“This is where I come to give my mind a break and really focus on fighting,” said the 27-year-old.
The heir to the Monroe family boxing legacy used his speed and legs to put on a clinic in the first two rounds of tourney, first defeating Donatas Bondorovas (18-5-1, 6 KOs) and then the undefeated Vitaliy Kopylenko (23-1, 13 KOs). He’s come a long way since being dropped by his promoter Dibella Entertainment after suffering the lone defeat of his career in 2011.
“Now I get to show everyone what the Mongoose is really about,” Monroe Jr. said. “When I was signed to Dibella I wasn’t given those opportunities. My journey as a professional has groomed me in and out of the ring, so the timing is perfect”
Now—as Monroe Jr. reflects on what it took for him to get here—he looks to the sky to thank his maker and those who’ve stood by him throughout his career.
“The roller coaster ride I’ve been on throughout my amateur and pro boxing career, only god could’ve brought me through,” said Monroe Jr. “Keep god first and acknowledge him in all that you do. I would like to thank all my fans because you guys give me the get up and go attitude that I need.”