Joey Spencer and The Fighting Michigan Tradition

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The undefeated super welterweight prospect looks to continue his meteoric rise Saturday night on PBC on FS1—and pave the way for a younger brother following in his footsteps.

Boxing is always in need of another new star. Names on the marquee that sell tickets and pay-per-views are the lifeblood of the sport.

Nineteen-year-old Joey Spencer has a classic boy-next-door charm and look to go along with a devastating, power punching style. The super welterweight division indeed has a potential future star on its hands.

The world will get another peek at the potential star this Saturday, April 13, when Spencer meets Osias Vasquez (4-2) at the Minneapolis Armory, live on FS1 (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). The bout opens a stacked televised card, headlined by a super middleweight tussle between former champions Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) and Minnesota’s own Caleb Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs).

As always, Spencer will be looking to steal the show.

“I’m the best prospect,” said Spencer. “I’m looking forward to proving that to everybody.”

Though he still resembles a teen who hasn’t quite learned how to shave, the Linden, Michigan native is an earnest young man, mature beyond his years.

When he was six-years-old, an age when most boys are infatuated with toys and cartoons, Spencer was falling in love with in boxing. He became hooked during the pre-fight hype to the 2007 Floyd Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya bout. From then on, he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

Around that time same, Joey’s father, Jason, adopted a two-year-old boy by the name of Mickel. Since then, Spencer has sojourned through the sport with those two family members by his side. His father is the only trainer he’s ever had, and from the moment ‘Kel (as Joey likes to call his little brother) was able to walk, he became his training partner.

“When he started walking, probably at four, we started sparring,” said Spencer. “We’d go in the living room with the gloves on and move the couches—to pretend we were fighting in a big-fight.

“At six, I was already fighting, so I was always boxing ‘Kel. He fell in love with it too, so by the time he was eight, he was already a killer."

Mickel is now 15 and regarded as one of the best amateurs in the world. The two brothers dream of both being world champions at the same time, just as the Spinks, Klitschko and Charlo brothers did before them.

In a sport full of extraordinary circumstances, the Spencer brothers could bring something not even prize-fighting has ever witnessed: World champion, adopted brothers—with different racial backgrounds to boot.

“He was two-years-old when he became my brother. The only reason I remember he’s adopted is because he’s black,” Spencer laughed. “I don’t know any other way—he’s just my brother. It’s great. I couldn’t imagine it being any different.”

The older Spencer is on his way to fulfilling his dreams. He’s stopped every foe he’s faced, typically in devastating fashion. No opponent has survived past the second round. 

I’m the best prospect. I’m looking forward to proving that to everybody. Undefeated Super Welterweight Prospect - Joey Spencer

“I know I have heavy hands,” said Spencer. “I’m only 19, so when I’m 22, 23-years-old it’s only going to grow more. You’ve got prospects who are in the 21-age range and as far as man strength, I know I’ve already got more than all of them.”

Following his most recent fight, a second round TKO over Brandon Harder in January, PBC television analyst Ray “Boom” Mancini said he wanted to see Spencer matched tougher.

“I’d like to see him step up now in opposition,” said the former world lightweight champion. “This kid can fight. Move him up to six (rounds).”

Wish granted. Saturday’s bout versus Vasquez will be Spencer’s first six-round assignment. Whether Vasquez lasts that long is another matter altogether. Spencer may still be a teen, but his style is reminiscent of the past greats from his home state of Michigan—including the employment of the famed shoulder roll technique.

“The shoulder roll is taught in a lot of gyms. I think Mayweather had a huge role in that, and James Toney before that,” said Spencer. “People say if you’re using the shoulder roll, that you’re trying to be like Floyd Mayweather. But if you’re from the Midwest or Michigan, that isn’t necessarily true.

“I like being right in the middle of the action, without necessarily giving-and-taking. I’m more James Toney than Floyd Mayweather with it; I’m really counter-punch minded. I like to stay in the pocket.”

Beyond just winning fights, Spencer wants to excite and entertain fight fans.  

“A style of fighting I’ve always admired is when you can get on the inside and it looks like an entertaining fight, but really you’re not getting hit,” said Spencer. “I love that, being right in the pocket and not getting hit.”

Spencer also incorporates facets into his style that come from some of the contemporary masters of the craft.

“Being a body puncher, I like watching [IBF World Welterweight Champion] Errol Spence Jr.’s body work,” said Spencer. “It’s my favorite way to break somebody down. You can see them wither away and their body deteriorating. You hear the noises they make and they go down from submission. That’s a great feeling.”

Spencer hopes to accomplish a lot more in his career than just scoring highlight-reel knockouts, though. From headlining a fight one day at Ford Field in Detroit, to becoming the youngest ever world champion in the history of the super welterweight division, Spencer has a list of lofty goals.

More than any quantifiable accomplishment, though, he just wants to be the best Joseph Don Spencer he can be.

“A big thing for me is potential,” said Spencer. “Everyone has a certain amount of potential—I feel like as long as I reach mine, then I can be at peace.”

For a closer look at Joey Spencer, check out his fighter page.

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