Derrick “Diesel” Jackson fidgeted anxiously in his corner as he waited for the opening bell to start the championship match of the annual 2019 Creole Games held on the island of St. Martin. Jackson's fans shouted, “diesel power, diesel power,” while they, too, waited for the match to begin. With each shout of “diesel power,” Jackson's body language changed from nervous energy to a menacing posture, like a bull ready to charge a matador. Finally, the bell rang, and like an 18-wheeler big rig careening down a highway, Jackson ran over his opponent in less than two minutes of the first round.
Derrick Jackson conducted this interview from an outdoor track where he had just wrapped up his morning workout in preparation for his tenth professional outing this Saturday night at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. With his chiseled chin, scruffy beard, and bright smile, Jackson, can easily be Joe Frazier's doppelganger.
The 20-year-old super welterweight prospect trains out of Rene's Dynamic Sports Center and is promoted by BoxLab Promotions. Jackson was born in Louisiana but relocated with his family to Orlando, Florida, when he was only four years old. “I rep Orlando, Florida; I wear it on my trunks,” said Derrick proudly.
Derrick comes from a close-knit family of fighters. His stepfather, Robert Rene, a former martial artist and kickboxer, introduced Jackson and his younger brother to combat sports when they were just five. “I played other sports. I started with football and baseball, but I love the contact of boxing. So, I focused on boxing,” said Derrick describing his passion for boxing.
Since age five, Jackson has fought nearly one hundred amateur matches. An accomplished amateur, Jackson won nine national and two international titles and qualified to represent the Haitian national boxing team in the 2020 Olympics. However, the COVID-19 pandemic derailed his Olympic dream.
After canceling that year's Olympic games, Jackson felt he had accomplished all he could as an amateur. So that same year, the Florida native decided to become a professional boxer. Jackson made his professional debut on November 20th, 2020, and won a unanimous decision against Antonius Garble at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL. Since then, he has been undefeated in nine outings, winning five fights by knockout.
When asked to describe his boxing style, Jackson told NYFights, “I'm a boxer-puncher that changes according to what my opponent is doing to get the win. Whether it's on the cards or by a knockout.”
Besides looking like Joe Frazier outside the ring, one can spot glimpses of “Smoking Joe's” relentless attack in Jackson's repertoire. Much like the iconic heavyweight champion, Derrick doesn't waste any time jumping on his opponents at the sound of the bell. With smooth head movements and swift footwork, Jackson quickly breaches most of his opponent's guard instantly and is comfortable fighting in both the southpaw and conventional stances. Jackson has deceptively quick hands for an inside fighter, and he relentlessly unleashes combinations that often leave his opponents overwhelmed and bewildered. In one match, an opponent was so perplexed by the barrage of punches that he turned his back to avoid the onslaught of Jackson's punches, prompting his corner to end the fight.
This Saturday night, Derrick Jackson faces Damian Ezequiel Bonelli (24-11, 20 KOs). The Argentinian is a nine-year veteran who will be a step up in opposition for Jackson. “It's a step up, “but it's nothing I'm not used to,” said Jackson to NYFights, acknowledging his opponent's experience.
When Derrick isn't fighting, he is coaching and mentoring kids that have the potential to fall prey to the streets and get in trouble. “When I'm not boxing, I'm over at Rene's dynamic -helping keep the kids off the streets and help them with their boxing. I like working with kids.” After his stint in boxing, Jackson hopes to pursue a profession that will allow him to continue helping and mentoring children. “I want to continue to work with kids, maybe as a teacher or a firefighter,” said Jackson.
Since starting his professional boxing career, Jackson has fought four to five times a year. After his fight on Saturday, he wants to continue to fight at this pace. His goal is to fight the best fighters within the division soon. Additionally, Derrick still hopes to land a spot on an Olympic team for the 2024 summer games. However, in the meantime, Jackson has deferred the progression of his career to his promotional and management team. “I'll never say no to a fight. I never look at a fighter and think I can't beat them,” said Jackson.
Derrick “Diesel” Jackson is an all-action fighter that thrives by bombarding and relentlessly punishing his opponents. However, his boxing style allows him to get hit quickly in the process. A weakness that Jackson recognizes and is working very hard to rectify. Derrick Jackson is still developing as a professional and is sparring with elite fighters like Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz. Working with a top-class fighter like Diaz will improve Jackson's defense and sharpen his offense. Derrick's charismatic personality, million-dollar smile, and tenacity will make him a favorite amongst boxing fans if he continues to win. In the meantime, Derrick “Diesel” Jackson will not let off the gas and will do his best to run over the opposition as he travels the arduous roads to boxing glory. “My greatest strength is that I keep coming forward and never back down,” concluded Jackson.