Interview with Peter Quillin

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking with New York based prospect Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin while he was away at training camp preparing for his fight with Sam Hill that took place on September 17.¬†¬†A loquacious, undefeated middleweight, Quillin has rapidly become a fan favorite throughout the five boroughs of New York. Possessing solid fundamentals, deceptive power, and an engaging persona, and it seems pretty clear as to why he enjoys a throng of fan support wherever he fights.¬† For the purpose of this article, I will skip the standard fare questions I asked him regarding his training and preparation, partly because his answers were what you are accustomed to hearing from a fighter prior to a bout, and partially because the fight has already taken place.¬† Quillin scored a one-sided tenth round stoppage of the over-matched Sam Hill.¬† What I did find interesting, and worthy of sharing with visitors of Ring Report is his reflection on growing up and the desire for him to make it within the confines of the squared circle.¬† In addition, Quillin shares his thoughts on his battle with Dionisio Miranda this past June.¬† In his fight with Miranda, Quillin suffered some dangerous moments that saw him hurt as Miranda dished out¬†his version of¬†Columbian punishment.¬† Q:¬† I want to go back to your fight with Dionisio Miranda, why did he present such a tough outing for you? A: Well, I didn‚Äôt even really know who I was fighting.¬† I went in there totally not knowing who I was getting ready for.¬† The way he went at me, he came to win.¬† I think that‚Äôs the number one thing you can‚Äôt take away from anyone is when they come and try to beat you.¬† Not to say that the rest of my opponents weren‚Äôt coming to win, just that he was coming a little bit more.¬† Q:¬† But in the end, did you feel like it was a learning experience? A:¬† It was the best experience as far as my career.¬† People don‚Äôt really know that I hurt my ankle, I covered it up but I was hurt.¬† A lot of people questioned my heart but they never really questioned my chin.¬† I‚Äôm not saying I have a weak chin or anything like that but you have to go out there and overcome adversity.¬† Q:¬† So you believe that such adversity shows a fighter’s true character? A:¬† Right, it shows [character].¬† He won round seven but then I came back to sweep it.¬† So you know, that just shows you that my will to win was a little heaver than his was.¬† I‚Äôm not really trying to take nothing from him; he‚Äôs a fighter as you could see.¬† I mean he was no slouch, not to say that I wasn‚Äôt supposed to beat him, I mean I feel like I can beat anybody in the world.¬† I won a unanimous decision; if you don‚Äôt think that then I don‚Äôt know what fight you were watching.¬† Q:¬† Ok, so what got you into the sport of boxing? A:¬† I was fighting in the street.¬† I was a little knucklehead. I got to do boxing, and it was something I loved to do anyway and I was like, ‚Äòyou know, this is something I‚Äôm really going to try to do.’ Q:¬† And how old were you at that time? A:¬† So I was like 15, and I was fighting in the street all the time but I didn‚Äôt really have the time, no one could bring me to the gym.¬† It was so far for me to get to the gym,¬†it was hard for me to get there so I stopped going.¬† [Local trainer Rodney Joby], gave us a pair of these pair of gloves and what we used to do was carry these gloves to all the different neighborhoods.¬† And I was like boxing kids that I went to school and grew up with or dudes from different neighborhoods and stuff.¬† We would box and stuff and get the little kids to box and stuff.¬† The boxing gloves started getting old and my mom was like go through this book and pick out some gloves and that‚Äôs what I‚Äôm going to get you for Christmas.¬† I started going through the book and I noticed all the champs in Grand Rapids, MI.¬†¬†That was kind of crazy.¬† I call this gym, MGGA, the¬†Michigan Golden Gloves Association, called them, they told me to come there.¬† I will never forget them because they never made me pay a membership when I couldn‚Äôt afford one.¬† So I start going to the gym and I thought I knew a lot about boxing but I ended up not knowing crap.¬† Thank God for my first trainer, Wayne Garcia, he started me off, taught me the basics to be a good fighter.¬† All they wanted me to do was stay in the gym, but that was kind of hard for me to do, like I said I was always in the streets.¬† If I had stayed in the gym I probably would have been a top amateur but like I said, I didn‚Äôt do that.¬† But I think that was a good experience because it made me want to learn so much and do good at it.¬† If I can‚Äôt go hard, than I should go home.¬† Q:¬† You moved from Grand Rapids, MI to New York at the age of 18.¬† Why the decision to head out to the Big Apple? A:¬† Well you know, I didn‚Äôt know anybody in New York.¬†¬† I mean I could have moved to Las Vegas, California, or anywhere else in the world but the opportunity was there and I felt like I needed a change.¬† What I wanted to do I couldn‚Äôt do in Grand Rapids and it took me being mature enough to make a change in my life and want something better for myself.¬† Moving to New York was probably the best decision I ever made in my life.¬† Q:¬† You have quickly become a fan favorite in the New York City area.¬† Why do think that there is such an outpouring of support? A:¬† Well, I think it‚Äôs because were I work at, The Trinity Boxing Club, which is like a huge compellation of people in the boxing industry, Wall Street, and stockbrokers.¬† I‚Äôve gotten to know some of these people, and word of mouth.¬† Then I took on the gimmick of throwing the chocolate out and people were intrigued by my personality and they wanted to know a little bit more about me.¬† But I try to be friendly with everybody, I try to touch people in a way they have never been touched when they meet somebody.¬† That‚Äôs not simply because I‚Äôm a boxer, that‚Äôs just the way I am.¬† I‚Äôve always had this ability to be a friendly person, a people person.¬† When you meet me, you‚Äôll be like, ‚Äòman, you‚Äôre one of the nicest guys I‚Äôve ever met‚Äô.¬† But when I get in the ring people will see me as the vicious fighter I am.¬† I guess that‚Äôs why people show me their support. Q:¬† So what do you hope to achieve in boxing?¬† How would you like your career to play out? A:¬† I would like to be rich.¬† But with being rich, some people think arrogant, you can be rich and do the decent thing for your community and the youth.¬† Especially where I came from, it was hard.¬† I‚Äôve had winters without heat in my house so me and my brothers had to bundle up to keep each other warm.¬† That‚Äôs real talk, and I know there are some kids out there that are going through the same thing I went through.¬† So I feel that maybe it‚Äôs my way to reach out and help kids that may not have the resources or financial support.¬† Just to have the time to speak [to the kids] and that‚Äôs something I want to do besides my boxing career.¬† I‚Äôm not telling every kid in the United States that don‚Äôt have heat in their house to go out and be a boxer, but they can survive by themselves with what they are good at.¬† Whether it‚Äôs playing basketball, being a journalist, or a singer, find your talent and work hard. Q:¬† So the desire to be a positive role model is there? A:¬† I want to be a good role model and a great boxer.¬† You know someone they can say, inside the ring he was a great fighter and outside the ring he was an even greater person. Q:¬† You mentioned growing up tough with your brothers, how many siblings do you have? A:¬† Two younger brothers and one older brother.¬† My older brother and me are really close, we have a separate relationship.¬† When we speak on the phone it‚Äôs like for hours.¬† He has a lot to say about my career.¬† But I also have siblings in Cuba that I have never met and I have only spoken to a couple times briefly.¬† From what I know, I have like three brothers in Cuba and I also have a sister in Cuba. Q:¬† Now you get your Cuban heritage from your father, was he around during your childhood? A:¬† My dad, from me being born to like 8 years old, my dad was in and out of prison.¬† When I was eight years old he went away for like six and a half years.¬† When I was 15 he got out.¬† I respect him a lot because when he went in there, it was totally wrong, but he was doing it for the family.¬† I learned a lot from him.¬† I mean he was in the streets so I tried to better myself and learn from the mistakes he made. He taught me about working hard and never taken anything for granted.¬† If you want something in life you should work for it.¬† And that‚Äôs something I learn when I was young from working on installing vinyl siding with him.¬† My dad owned his own business and lost everything just for the fact that he was doing the wrong thing, selling drugs. You know, that is something he shouldn‚Äôt have been doing.¬† My mom, raising four little boys on her own was rough.¬† When my dad stepped out, my older brother, he had to step in and be like a [father].¬† So at the same time, he‚Äôs my friend and at the same time he has to be like pops too.¬† When my mom couldn‚Äôt discipline us, she would call in my older brother so I respect him for that.¬†¬†¬† Q:¬† Switching gears here, realistically, how close do you feel you are to a title shot? A:¬† I‚Äôm close.¬† I like the step up [in competition], and I like people who pose me a challenge.¬† You know, who ever is in my¬†[expletive] way.¬† Sorry to be so blunt but I think that I should be in a better position than I am right now.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.