At the age of 26, Erick is a six-year pro. A rising young contender at 130 pounds, he was an amateur standout before his debut who competed at the highest national levels and had impressive wins against fellow standouts Toka Kahn Clary, Amir Imam, Shemuel Pagan, Joel Diaz Jr., and Julian Ramirez, all of whom are now up-and-coming professional prospects or contenders. Erick also had an amateur win against JosĂ© Ramirez, who recently won the WBC super lightweight world championship.
Erick was one of the top talents on Team USA before the 2012 Olympics but had a shoulder injury before the Olympic Trials and could not perform to his full capability.
As a pro, he has given consistently strong performances and made excellent progress.
In his last fight on July 14, 2018, in New Orleans, he won a 10-round unanimous decision against Adrian Young.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Detroit lightweight Erick De Leon survived a first-round knockdown and a shoulder injury to dominate Adrian Young in a unanimous decision win. The judges scored it 98-91, 97-92 and 97-92. De Leon, a southpaw trained by Robert Garcia, was coming off a hard-fought majority draw with fellow unbeaten up-and-comer Andy Vences on March 10.
Young, in his first fight outside of Mexico, dropped De Leon with a left hook in the first round but did little else the rest of the bout. [End Rafael item]
In his post-fight interview, Erick said, “He caught me a little bit cold with a good shot in the first round. He came to fight.
“I basically fought the whole fight with one arm. I dislocated my right shoulder in the first round, but we made it work and got a good win against a tough opponent.”
Erick has been trained for his last eight fights by Robert Garcia, the Boxing Writers Association of Americaâ€™s â€ś2012 Trainer of the Year,â€ť at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, California.
In earlier interviews, Erick said, “I never stop training â€“ I’m a gym rat. Robert Garcia has been my trainer since I went pro, but I started coming to California for training camp since my fights in 2016. Before that, my dad and Nelson Figueroa would train me in Detroit â€“ Nelson has trained me since I won the Golden Gloves, the Junior Olympics, all those little tournaments. Then, every time I would fight on a Top Rank card, Robert would be my assistant coach and he would work my corner. I told him once I started getting bigger fights and fighting more rounds that I would have to go to camp with him in California, and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m down for it.’ I met Robert even before I went pro.
“I’ve also been in training camps the last couple of years with Vasiliy Lomachenko, Jessie Vargas, Mikey Garcia, Brandon Rios, Abner Mares.
“I know what I’ve got to do when I’m in that ring, I make adjustments if I have to. I have a lot of experience, and I’m just focused on this fight.
“I don’t talk much, I don’t like to say much. But the fans are in for a really good treat, and I’m very excited.
“I like to be an aggressive fighter. I like to put pressure, but I make adjustments. I can box, I can bang, I can move, I can counterpunch. Everything I know, I use in the ring to win a fight, but I definitely like to put pressure and get in there and throw punches.
“I love what I do and I work hard every day. I put all of my passion into this.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Erick said, “I was born in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon. That’s in northern Mexico, an hour and a half, two hours from the border and Laredo. I have two brothers and one sister. My sister is the oldest one, she lives in Texas â€“ I have a lot of family in Texas. My dad was a construction worker, but he retired and just helps with my training. My mom is a housewife.
“Both of my brothers used to box. They were both very talented, but they didn’t fall in love with it like I did. They never went pro. My uncle in Mexico used to fight. He never went to no boxing gym â€“ he didn’t have one in the town where he used to live â€“ but he would always have a pair of gloves with him and he would box anybody in the street.
“When I was seven years old we moved to Pasadena, Texas, for a few months. But my dad got a job offer in Michigan and we moved here.
“I went to a gym in Detroit when I was eight years old. I kept telling my dad, ‘Take me to the gym, take me to the gym. I want to box,’ and I was throwing punches at him. I was never getting into no street fights or anything, but I would always hear my dad talk about boxing and soccer, boxing and soccer â€“ ‘Oscar’s fighting’ or ‘He’s fighting Mosley’ or ‘He’s fighting Vargas.’
“My dad asked one of his best friends at work, Ricardo, if he knew of any boxing gyms. Ricardo told him, ‘We’ll take him one of these days so he can get beat up.’
“One day he took me to the gym and I fell in love with it. I had so much energy, and most of my energy would be spent there in the gym. I just kept getting better and better and took it from there.
“I would move to different gyms, but every Saturday I would go to the Kronk Gym in Dearborn when I was 11 years old. The pros would go in and train on Saturdays, and I was seeing Emanuel Steward there. They asked me, ‘Do you want to fight in a pro-am show in Auburn Hills? I was like, ‘Yeah!’ Emanuel seen me fight there and ever since then, he always looked out for me and always guided me through my amateur career. He always helped me out, helped my family out. We were real close.
“Once I got to be a teenager, then we started getting more serious. I was training at the Kronk Gym and spending more time with Emanuel, traveling with him. I would go to Klitschko fights with him. He would take me to California, San Antonio, I was going to Vegas with him, Madison Square Garden. I was in Klitschko’s dressing room thinking, ‘Wow, this is awesome!’ I was 15 years old â€“ great memories! Me and him had a great connection â€“ we were very close right up until he passed away.
“I lost count of my amateur fights after 120, but my dad says I had over 150. I had eight losses, but my dad says I really only lost two times. He said, ‘Man, you got robbed a few times.’ I remember every national tournament like they were yesterday.
“I was winning every tournament for like, four years in a row until the Olympic Trials. At the Olympic Trials, two weeks before the tournament I was sharp, sparring with bigger, taller guys, and then my left shoulder started popping out of place. It gave out on me. I rested for about two months after the Olympic Trials. Then Dr. Lemos from the Lions and Tigers was like, ‘How did you even win your third Golden Gloves title? How are you even fighting this year? Your shoulder was basically hanging from a string. If you had waited three or four months, your shoulder would have been done.’ I got my surgery done on November 11, 2011. It was a torn rotator, it was really bad. The surgery took six hours, they did a great job. I had 44 weeks of therapy after that.
“I’m naturally left-handed.”…
Erick became a U.S. citizen on February 14, 2011â€¦
From The New York Times, by Fabrizio Costantini [Oct. 20, 2010 â€“ excerpts]: Detroit has produced some great boxers, including Joe Louis, Thomas Hearns and Milton McCrory.
Many, including De Leon, have been coached by Emanuel Steward, the founder of Detroitâ€™s Kronk Gym. â€śHeâ€™s a superstar,â€ť Steward said of De Leon.
The De Leon family lives in a tidy house in a Detroit suburb called Lincoln Park. Luciano De Leon, who has dedicated much of his adult life to coaching his son, works long hours in construction.
“When he was little, I’d get home from work, and he’d say, ‘Put your hands up like this,’ and heâ€™d start punching them,” Luciano De Leon said in Spanish. “At first I didn’t pay much attention to it, but he persisted, every day, and hit me harder and harder. So my friend helped me find him a gym and in two months, he was fighting in the open class.” [End Costantini item]
2011 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS â€“ Mobile, Alabama, 132 pounds/double elimination tournament: in the quarterfinals (his first fight) on 7-31-11 he lost a 35-17 decision against Kenneth Sims Jr.; in the Challengers Bracket Round 1 on 8-1-11 he won a 20-14 decision against Toribio Ramirez; in the Challengers Bracket Round 2 on 8-2-11 he lost a 20-19 decision against Toka Kahn Clary…
2011 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ Indianapolis, Indiana, 132 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 4-26-11 he won a decision against JosĂ© Ramirez of Avenal, Calif.; in his second fight on 4-27-11 he won a decision against Toka Kahn Clary of Providence, R.I.; in the quarterfinals on 4-28-11 he won a decision against Edgar Javalera; in the semifinals on 4-29-11 he won a decision against Kenneth Sims Jr.; in the finals on 4-30-11 he won a decision against Luis Cruz…
2010 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ Little Rock, Arkansas, 132 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST / WON GOLDEN BOY AWARD: in his first fight on 5-5-10 he won a decision against Raynell Williams; in the quarterfinals on 5-6-10 he won a 5-0 decision against Tommy Logan; in the semifinals on 5-7-10 he won a 4-1 decision against Duran Caferro; in the finals on 5-8-10 he won a 5-0 decision against Damon Allenâ€¦
2009 NATIONAL PAL CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ San Antonio, Texas, 132 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 10-20-09 he won an 18-3 decision against Carlos Castillo; on 10-21-09 he won a 25-6 decision against Adrian Juarez; in the quarterfinals on 10-22-09 he won a 29-0 decision against Christopher Lopez; in the semifinals on 10-23-09 he won a 22-15 decision against Georgia Rincon; in the finals on 10-25-09 he won a 12-3 decision against Eric Altamirano…
2009 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ Salt Lake City, Utah, 132 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 5-5-09 he won a decision against Leonard Arguelles; in his second fight on 5-6-89 he won a decision against Tony Lee; in the quarterfinals on 5-7-09 he won a decision against Yaundale Evans; in the semifinals on 5-8-89 he won a decision against Amir Imam; in the finals on 5-9-89 he won a decision against Shemuel Pagan…
2008 JUNIOR OLYMPIC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ Marquette, Michigan, 125 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 6-17-08 he won a 10-8 decision against Jose Arambula of Harvey, Ill.; in the quarterfinals on 6-18-08 he won an 18-14 decision against Abel Navarette of San Angelo, Tex.; in the semifinals on 6-19-08 he won a 25-5 decision against Damon Allen of Philadelphia, Penn.; in the finals on 6-20-08 he won a 13-9 decision against Joel Diaz of Palmdale, Calif.;
2008 NATIONAL SILVER GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS â€“ Kansas City, Missouri, 125 pounds/14-15 year-old division â€“ GOLD MEDALIST: in the quarterfinals (his first fight) on 1-31-08 he defeated Carl Perri; in the semifinals on 2-1-08 he defeated Jesse Rocha; in the finals on 2-2-08 he defeated Julian Ramirez of Los Angeles, Calif….
2007 NATIONAL JUNIOR GOLDEN GLOVES â€“ 119 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST [results not currently available]…
2007 FILIBERTO LEBRON COPA DE BOXEO â€“ 119 pounds â€“ GOLD MEDALIST [results not currently available]…
STRENGTHS: A left-hander with an aggressive style, good skills and movementâ€¦has good punching powerâ€¦had a strong amateur backgroundâ€¦has a strong family boxing backgroundâ€¦
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 19 fightsâ€¦83 total roundsâ€¦
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 4.3 roundsâ€¦
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: of total fights â€“ 52 %…of wins â€“ 55 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 10 rounds â€“ 2 (1-0-1)â€¦6 rounds â€“ 4 (4-0)â€¦5 rounds â€“ 1 (1-0)â€¦