Tony “Superbad” Harrison is determined to put Detroit back on the boxing map. One of the last protégés of late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, Harrison is striving to reach the top of the 154-pound division.
Born with a boxing pedigree
Harrison was born with boxing in his blood. His grandfather Henry Hank won 62 fights during a 19-year pro career, and father Ali Salaam competed professionally at 147 pounds.
Although trained by his father, it was Harrison’s mother who steered him toward boxing after he was suspended from school repeatedly for fighting.
“My dad didn’t want me to box, but my mom got tired of seeing me get suspended,” Harrison said. “She told my dad to put me in the gym.”
Training under the tutelage of both his father and Steward, Harrison thrived as an amateur, compiling a record of 75-12, winning two Michigan Golden Gloves titles and reaching the semifinals of the National Golden Gloves tournament.
Tony Harrison delivers punishment during his win over Daniel Urbanski in Hamburg, Germany, on November 10, 2012.
Strong out of the gate
Harrison, the second youngest of eight children, turned pro in 2011 on Steward’s advice instead of trying to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
He made his professional debut in July 2011, gaining a first-round technical knockout of Uwe Tritschler in Hamburg, Germany.
Harrison stopped his first eight opponents, including five in the first round. He then won unanimous decisions in 2012 over veterans Calvin Odom and Daniel Urbanski to increase his profile.
With Steward also training heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Harrison fought in Europe on the same card as Klitschko four times, including three in 2012 alone, before Steward passed away in October 2012.
Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward helped guide Tony Harrison's career until his death in October 2012.
Continuing Steward’s legacy
It was Steward who gave Harrison the nickname “Superbad,” adopting it from former 160-pound Detroit-based fighter Bernard Mays, who died in 1994 at the age of 33.
Under the guidance of his father, Harrison stopped all five of his opponents in 2013, setting up a clash with veteran Grady Brewer, who won the second season of boxing reality show The Contender.
Fighting at the Masonic Temple in Detroit in February 2014, Harrison gained a second-round TKO of Brewer. He wrapped up the year with first-round stoppages of both former world champion Bronco McKart and Tyrone Brunson.
The 6-foot-1 Harrison opened 2015 by stopping Antwone Smith in the second round in Las Vegas in February in the main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
He then gained his 10th consecutive stoppage in April, scoring a third-round TKO of Mexican southpaw Pablo Manguia at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut in another headlining bout on ESPN.