Heavyweight Chauncy Welliver (51-5-5, 19 KOs) will be lacing up on January 28 in his second home of New Zealand. The bearded boxer is set to square off against Moyoyo Mensah (21-8-1, 9 KOs) at The Corporate Box in downtown Auckland.
I caught up with the fighter, known as the “Hillyard Hammer,” at the recent WBC Convention in Las Vegas.
There, along with over 100 other champions, Chauncy couldn’t contain his excitement and enthusiasm for taking his place on stage alongside some of boxing’s biggest icons including Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and so many more.
Trained by Joe Hipp (a former NABF and WBF heavyweight champ) and managed by Roland Jankelson, the southpaw has 51 victories, and yet his name is usually not recognized by the casual boxing fan even though he holds many championship belts, including the WBC Continental Americas title. While he may not be a superstar in the States yet, he is a huge draw in China where the fans flock to him. He resides in Spokane, Washington while also counting New Zealand as his second home. “Half the time I am in New Zealand and I also train in Tacoma,” he explains.
Team Welliver hopes to heighten his profile in the new year and claim stake in the heavyweight division.
And Chauncy’s “dream opponent” may surprise you. Is it a Klitschko, Chris Arreola, David Haye, or even Robert Helenius?
“I’d LOVE to fight Evander Holyfield!” the likable slugger tells me. Yes, the 28-year-old would like to face one of the heavyweight legends one day in the future, should the “Real Deal” continue in the ring.
But first he will defend his belts on January 28 as he faces Mensah for the WBC Asian Boxing Council, WBO and NZNBF straps.
In our video interview below, Chauncy spoke about this upcoming fight (which was originally slated for January 21) and of his hardscrabble childhood as a self-described “fat kid,” the youngest child in his family. Brothers Rick Welliver and Dewey Welliver also box. Rising up through poverty, the pugilist says he enjoys and appreciates the attention he’s garnered through boxing
With a self-deprecating humor, the husky hitter used to call himself the “fat, dorky White guy” in the ring.
Now after shedding many pounds, the blue-collar boxer is ready for more, looking for a chance to fight on a worldwide stage–and hoping to reach the next level in the sport.
“If you believe it, you achieve it,” Chauncy states during our interview.
He’s already achieved acclaim from the World Boxing Council (WBC) and is very proud to hold the belts–and is also happy to donate his time to their nonprofit organization, WBC Cares. During the World Convention at the Mandalay Bay, Welliver visited a local Boys & Girls Club with WBC Cares’ Jill Diamond and a slew of his fellow champions.
Welliver’s passion and loyalty for the sport and for his WBC title runs skin deep–literally. See his tattoo of the famous green and gold WBC logo on his arm that he inked after winning his title. The champ also has his girlfriend Sarah’s name etched into his skin; he raves about her support and shows off the fresh ink touting her name.
“She is the most supportive person in the world!” he smiles in regards to his “better half,” Sarah Jackson Grant. During a prizefighter’s career, there are endless travels, long training camps and the usual amount of intense pressure involved with the sport. Through it all, Chauncy says Sarah’s been a gem.
There is mutual respect between this dynamic duo.
“I’m damn proud of Chauncy, his boxing career but more importantly, the person he is,” his pretty girlfriend relays to me. She was also thrilled that Chauncy and his manager Roland received awards at the convention with Welliver being voted WBC Continental Americas “Champion of the Year.”
Next stop for the team will be New Zealand.
After training in Spokane and Seattle, Welliver says they are all heading to island country where he the camp will await the January 28 bout.
“We leave tomorrow afternoon,” Chauncy said today. “Training is going good. Weight is a little higher than usual but I feel very strong.”
He plans on getting the victory in Auckland and bringing back his belt to the U.S.
It’s a belt he worked hard to achieve and he doesn’t take for granted the championship belts he owns.
In fact, Welliver has big plans for one of his green and gold straps.
He plans to donate his belt to WBC Cares so they may offer it in an auction to raise money benefiting kids around the world.
After our interview, Chauncy went over to greet another burly heavyweight, Larry Holmes. As the “Hillyard Hammer” met the “Easton Assassin,” Welliver asked the heavyweight great to autograph his belt that will be auctioned off.
Giving back is important to Welliver. As a poor, overweight child he never thought he’d be a world champ. Chauncy’s never forgotten where he came from and now chooses to help and inspire others–especially the less fortunate.
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.