Cuban-American boxer Peter Quillin punches his way to the top
The ‘Chocolate’ thunder is set to defend his World Middleweight title on April 19.
BY Ray Monell
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Ken Goldfield/Ken Goldfield for Ny Daily News
Reigning WBO world middleweight champion Peter (Kid Chocolate) Quillin remembers being told as a youth that he was destined for prison, doomed to be another statistic.
Yet the statistic for which this Cuban-American fighting out of Brooklyn is best-known is strictly positive: a professional boxing record of 30-0, with 22 of his triumphs coming by knockout.
"I could say just one thing, man: I was told I was gonna be a criminal my whole life," says Quillin, who was born in Chicago, raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., and has lived in New York for the past 13 years.
"I made a change for the better, and I'm inspiring kids now through what I do."
Quillin, 30, defends his 160-pound title on April 19 in Washington, D.C., against Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KO), a former interim WBO light middleweight titleholder from the Czech Republic.
Konecny, who'll be making his U.S. debut, isn't that big a puncher, and it is tempting to view him as little more than a safe opponent for a rising star.
Yet Quillin, speaking with Viva during a recent workout at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, apparently isn't taking that bait.
"(Konecny) has got as many knockouts as I got, and I have to respect that from him," says Quillin, whose fight with the 35-year-old challenger marks his third title defense.
"I know he's a pressure guy, comes in, comes forward. My whole thing is to stop him from doing whatever he's trying to do, which is to take my belt."
Quillin's most recent challenger, Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado, is a pressure fighter, too. The middleweights traded dozens of blows throughout their Atlantic City encounter last October, but none more important than a power jab from Quillin in the ninth round that opened a gash above Rosado's left eye.
Rosado's excessive bleeding forced a stoppage in round 10, allowing Quillin to keep his belt.
"I'm glad to have fights like those under my belt, where it taught me a lot about myself," Quillin says.
"Keeping my composure in the rough moments, when the waves were rough, and riding them out."
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