Tony Harrison, Jr. had recently had a FaceTime conversation with Leo Hall, a promising boxer from Toledo, Ohio who had trained with Tony and his father at their gym in Detroit.
“We talked about him getting himself back on the right track with the sport,’’ Harrison said. “And now, just like that it’s all over.’’
Early Saturday morning Hall passed away after getting shot in an alleged robbery in Toledo, according to his father, Leo Hall, Sr. Hall said police are still investigating the details surrounding his son’s death.
Hall, who would have turned 24 on Dec. 13, was a light heavyweight prospect with a record of 8-2 with 7 knockouts. He last fought Earl Newman in 2016, losing a unanimous decision on a card in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Leo, Sr. said his son was planning to get back into the gym in three days to start training for a comeback.
“He was going to go back to Detroit to work with Tony Harrison at his gym and then go down to Washington D.C. to train (at Head Bangers Gym)," he said. “This is just hard on everybody, because he was just getting back into it, getting back on the right track."
Hall injured his wrist in training soon after his fight against Newman and had to take some time off to let it heal. He had continued to work out sporadically with Harrison in Detroit.
Harrison had grown close to Hall in the two years that he worked with Harrison and his father in Detroit – a 30 minutes drive from Toledo. Harrison was still reeling from the news of Hall’s death on Saturday afternoon.
“Surprised isn’t the word,’’ Harrison said. “It was super shocking to hear that he was dead. He had a young daughter who is about a year old. Everybody in Detroit loved him. There wasn’t a person that was around him that didn’t love him. Once the opportunity came up for him to come and train at our gym in Detroit, we did everything together. He was like my little brother.’’
Mike Stafford, the trainer for four-division world champion Adrien Broner and a long-time amateur boxing coach in Ohio, said Hall was an outstanding amateur boxer. He fought on several amateur shows that Stafford, who is from Cincinnati, organized around the state of Ohio.
“I would describe his style as boxer-puncher, but more boxer than puncher,’’ Stafford said. “He was a good kid. I know he was disappointed because he had lost two fights in a row. But he was looking to come back and resume his career. He was trying to get everything back together so he could get back into boxing regularly.’’
Leo, Sr. fondly remembered his son as a fun-loving young man with championship aspirations.
“He was just a happy, good kid, who was definitely going to be the light heavyweight champion of the world,’’ he said. “This is really just tearing everybody up.’’
- Tony Harrison