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St. Thomas’ Clayton ‘Mr. 340’ Laurent Jr. Hopes To Continue Boxing Family’s Winning Ways

SAN JUAN — Clayton “Mr. 340” Laurent Jr. of St. Thomas wants to continue his family’s winning ways this weekend.

As the stepson of Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, the Jackson family has had its share of champions.

“Boxing is what I love to do, it’s what I live for,” Laurent said. “Growing up, it was exciting to see my brothers excelling. I wanted to be a world champion and a world ranked heavyweight fighter representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, and I appreciate having this opportunity at really building my career and becoming somebody in the ring.”

So Virgin Islands heavyweight champ Laurent hopes to continue that family tradition by improving his record to 3-0 with a win Friday over Kenny Cruz Carasquillo (3-2-1) in Puerto Rico.

The bout was finalized this week through Laurent’s promoter, Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, who has been looking at ways to keep the hometown heavyweight active in the ring.

Laurent will face Carasquillo at Cancha Ruben Zayas Mantanez in Truillo Alto in four, three-minute rounds.

“The opportunity arose to have this fight and Clayton has been in the gym, so we all saw this as an offer too good to refuse,” Laurent’s manager Matt Clark said. “Whilst his opponent does compete usually at cruiserweight, he’s coming off a very credible win against Prince Badi Ajamu, who fought Roy Jones, Jr. Still, that means nothing to Clayton, whose focus is honestly one of his most impressive attributes.”

Laurent has kept up a regimented training routine since his August bout against Sherman Artis, Jr., which he won by technical knockout early in the second round, according to the release.

“I struggled to get from 330 pounds to 291 pounds this last fight, but since then, I’ve been constantly training to lower my weight and get ready for the next opportunity,” he said. “My upcoming opponent is not someone I’m looking to just get past – it’s someone I’m going through. And while I’m still learning about him, but my team has a plan and I trust they’ll guide me to a win. My goal is to be a world champion, and with a victory on the 7th, that’s what I’ll continue to push for.”

Clark added Friday that the constant competition will help Laurent continue to improve.

“It’s absolutely vital for a young prospect to be constantly competing, to keep learning his craft and since we signed with DiBella Entertainment, Clayton has been active,” Clark said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Clayton’s improvements in each and every contest and this will be no different. It will be tremendous for him to round out the year with a good win and quite possibly inside the distance.”

DiBella Entertainment signed 2016 Olympic Heavyweight Champ Clayton “Mr. 340” Laurent Jr. of St. Thomas in July.

He is the stepson of former junior middleweight and middleweight world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson and the stepbrother of contenders John and Julius Jackson.

Standing 6’5″ and weighing 250 pounds, the 27-year-old Laurent competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, advancing to the second round. With the ultimate goal of becoming the first world heavyweight champion born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Laurent made his professional debut on August 19, 2017, earning a second-round stoppage against Wayman Carter.

Outside of boxing, Laurent is a property manager for Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), the local emergency response agency.

“I’m thrilled to add heavyweight puncher Clayton Laurent Jr. to the DiBella Entertainment roster,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “With his background as a 2016 Olympian, and having honed his skills under the tutelage of his legendary stepfather Julian Jackson, Clayton has explosive potential. Together with his managers Philippe Fondu and Matt Clark, we will work to develop Clayton and provide him with an opportunity to become the first heavyweight champion from the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

“It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m being signed by one of the biggest names in boxing right now,” said Laurent. “I first heard about DiBella when my brothers went to train with Sergio Martinez at his camp in California. I saw him take Sergio from being an undiscovered, unknown boxer to a superstar, and I look forward to seeing him transform my career as well.

Laurent is co-managed by Philippe Fondu and Matt Clark.

“I was privileged to work several times in the past with Lou DiBella, whom I consider a leading boxing promoter in the world,” Fondu said. “When it came time to select someone trustworthy to develop Clayton’s career, my suggestion to the team was to address DiBella Entertainment’s proposal. I am deeply convinced that Clayton has a great future in front of him being associated with DiBella Entertainment.”

Clark continued along the same lines.

“Clayton is an exciting addition to the heavyweight scene,” Clark said. “He has a good engine and punches to the body very well. We are proud to be a part of the DiBella Entertainment stable.”

In addition to representing the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2016 Olympics, Clayton had an illustrious amateur career, including participating in the Pan American Games in 2015 and 2011. He also had three victories in the World Series of Boxing in 2015, competing for the Puerto Rican Hurricanes.

Additionally, Laurent has sparred on numerous occasions with current Unified Cruiserweight World Champion Murat Gassiev.

Details of Laurent’s first bout under the DiBella Entertainment banner will be announced shortly.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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