The thunder’s stay in South Florida extends through the weekend: That’s what hard-hitting heavyweight Tony Grano hopes when he faces veteran DaVarryl Williamson at the Seminole Hard Rock on Saturday, two days after the Miami Heat eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.
Grano (19-2-1, 15 KOs) achieved personal highs in the beginning of the year, both professionally and personally. Exactly two weeks after a 3rd round stoppage of the fan-friendly Brian Minto in late January, Grano welcomed the birth of his daughter, Mya.
The man whose nickname is “TNT” believes he is in the best chapter of his life in every aspect.
His story isn’t without minor setbacks, though. He was scheduled to take on then-NABF titlist Johnathon Banks, but Banks broke the commitment to face the No. 1 contender in favor of other plans.
“He was trying to be slick and get a fight with Seth Mitchell,” Grano told TQBR this week. “I believe he was taking it because (Banks) thought it would be on HBO and be a better payday.”
Banks was subsequently stripped of the belt, which is now on the line on Saturday, and Banks’ HBO date was subsequently canceled when Mitchell suffered an injury.
Grano, 32, said he had to adjust his game plan after he trained for nearly five weeks expecting Banks as his opponent. Williamson (27-6, 23 KOs) is a different type of opponent, a larger man than Banks at 6’4″. Grano said he looked forward to applying his new strategy after a Jupiter, Fla., training camp and has to be cautious of Williamson’s right hand.
Though he’s not looking past his bout at hand, Grano looks forward to going back to his home state of Connecticut and spending time with the four-and-a-half-month old Mya. After that, he’ll assess his future fights. Fellow American heavyweights Bryant Jennings and Seth Mitchell are in his scope.
Grano watched Jennings win an easy unanimous decision over Steve Collins last Saturday, and was impressed with the 27-year-old.
“(His camp) keeps Jennings real busy,” Grano said. “He doesn’t have the best punch, but he’s a hard worker. He throws a lot of punches. He’s a tough kid.”
He was also complimentary of Mitchell, the former Michigan State linebacker-turned-boxer, who Grano said is a natural athlete who made a seamless transition to prizefighting.
“Right now, I’m worried about Williamson,” Grano said. “This is for the title and is most important before I think about (future opponents) too much.”