Boxing has always been an important endeavor for Justin Rolfe, dating to his days as an amateur contending for the New England Golden Gloves title. Now in his third year as a pro, the birth of his son has Rolfe taking the sport even more seriously.

“I’ve been blessed with a very easy baby. He’s on a schedule. He sleeps through the night. I’m lucky,” Rolfe said of his 6-month old son. “I have a kid now. I have something more to fight for. When I have other reasons, people to fight for, I fight better. I’m fighting for my son and his future. I don’t want him to have to get punched in the head for a living. I do think I can make it.”

Rolfe, 29, of Fairfield, will take another step in his career Saturday night at the SportsZone in Derry, New Hampshire, when he fights Jose Humberto Corral for the vacant American Boxing Federation Atlantic heavyweight title.

Justin Rolfe, of Fairfield, will fight for the American Boxing Federation Atlantic heavyweight title on Saturday night in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo provided by Justin Rolfe

“He’s a little more grown up. He’s a little more serious now. Fatherhood will do that to you,” said Mike Leary, Rolfe’s trainer.

The opportunity to fight for the ABF Atlantic belt came when Rolfe and Leary met ABF President Jeremy Lantz at a weigh-in for Rolfe’s April 17 fight versus Alfredo Trevino. When Rolfe asked Lantz for a title fight shot, Lantz told him to just look good against Trevino.

Two days after Rolfe knocked out Trevino just 20 seconds into the fight — including the 10 seconds it took for the count — Lantz offered Rolfe the chance to fight for the vacated belt. The victory improved Rolfe’s professional record to 5-2-1.

“(Rolfe) needs to create buzz around him, and that’s how you do it. He hit (Trevino) five times. Three landed, and the third was a left hook that just dumped the guy. If you get the buzz, you get the title belt. If you get the title belt, then you get the money,” Leary said.

In Corral (20-26), Rolfe faces a veteran opponent, but also a fighter who hasn’t been in the ring for almost two years. Corral’s last fight came Oct. 26, 2019, a loss to Brandon Glanton when Corral refused to come out for the fourth round. Corral lost seven of his last eight fights.

“Any boxer knows what it’s like to come off some time away. I’m going to start quick, start early, and hopefully catch him cold and not let him warm up. With my style, I like to go and not let you figure me out. I don’t like to let you set up on me,” Rolfe said.

Added Leary: “We’re not going to take anybody lightly, but we’re pretty confident, especially after Justin’s last performance.”

An addition to Rolfe’s corner team is Jerry Thompson. A longtime figure in central Maine boxing, Thompson promoted fights in the Waterville area in the 1970s and 80s. Leary said he considers Thompson one of his mentors. It’s been a long time since Thompson worked with a fighter, but he was drawn to Rolfe’s talent and drive.

Justin Rolfe, of Fairfield, hits a bag that trainer Mike Leary holds recently. Rolfe, 29, of Fairfield, will fight for the American Boxing Federation Atlantic heavyweight title on Saturday night in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo provided by Justin Rolfe

“Justin is really working hard. Mike’s really done a good job with him,” Thompson said.

Over the last year, Rolfe focused much of his training on cardio workouts. When he couldn’t get in the gym in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, running was an achievable workout. These days, Rolfe supplements his sparring sessions with sprint workouts on Colby College’s track. His feet and hands are quicker now, Rolfe said, adding an added dimension to the power game he’s always used in the ring.

“This kid is a hard worker. What I love about (Rolfe) is, everything we do is a discussion. ‘Do you think I’ve got to lose weight?’ Yeah, you could trim down a little bit and this is how we could do it. And he does it. That’s how you succeed, man. We work together as a team,” Leary said.

Saturday’s fight is Rolfe’s second experience with a title shot. Last August, Rolfe won the USA New England heavyweight title, beating Tracey Johnson in an unanimous decision. Rolfe lost the belt in his next fight, a unanimous decision loss to Mike Marshall.

“I feel a lot more relaxed going into this fight. Having experience, I’m a lot more comfortable and confident in my ability. I can’t help but feel confident going into this fight,” Rolfe said. “I’m excited just to go out in front of everybody again, show off my abilities, and hopefully open more doors. I want to make another statement and win a title fight.

“I can’t promise you wins and knockouts and all that, but I can promise it’s always going to be an entertaining fight.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.