Flint native DeAndre Savage preparing for professional boxing debut

FLINT, Michigan -- Flint native DeAndre Savage comes from a long line of athletes in his family. One brother, Shujaa El-Amin (formerly Dion Savage Jr.), boxed professionally. Another brother, Dionte Savage, played college football at the University of Oklahoma and professionally. DeAndre also played college football.

So, given his athletic background and accomplishments, it shouldn’t be a surprise that DeAndre Savage’s first negotiations for a professional boxing contract were straightforward.

“Basically, Christopher Lovejoy (of Lovejoy Boxing) called and said he wanted to meet with me,” Savage said. “He went in his bag, put some money on the table, put the contract on the table, and asked ‘What do you want to do?’”

They worked out some details, and ultimately, Savage decided to sign a three-year deal with Lovejoy Boxing and will have his first professional fight on July 11 in Mexico. 

Savage’s path to a professional boxing career is a bit unconventional. At 30, the heavyweight only began training in 2016 after spending much of his early life playing football. Despite the challenges of switching to a new, high-level sport, Savage showed promise and had some successes. He participated in the USA National Championship Tournament in 2019, the 2020 Olympic Trials, and has been disciplined in his training regimen.

“I came over here (to Las Vegas) because of my older brother,” Savage said. “He was signed with Floyd Mayweather back in 2009. And that's when I was playing college football. So I came out here after that and you know, I just, I said I was going to give boxing a try. It has always been mind over matter with me. I come from nothing from Flint, Michigan, you know, so I basically struggled my whole life.”

Savage’s father Dion Savage was recently released from prison. At times growing up, the family struggled with poverty. He and his brothers have all found success athletically, though, with him and Dionte both receiving athletic scholarships and he and El-Amin both receiving professional boxing contracts. That experience growing up, of having to work for and earn those opportunities, helped shape him.

“There’s been a big motivation for me to prove people wrong, to show that I am somebody,” Savage said. 

Savage was six when his dad went to prison, but they were in contact as much as possible, and his dad has helped him and cheered on his career in sports.

“He gives me advice, he supports me,” Savage said. “I want to show him that I’m capable of doing anything that I put my mind to.”

Although training for boxing as opposed to football is a dramatic difference because of the stamina and cardio training required in boxing, Savage’s football days have helped him transition to the new sport. Particularly, as a lineman in high school and college, footwork was critical. 

“I was one of those football players with great footwork,” Savage said. “So I have transitioned that over into the boxing ring. A lot of heavyweights don’t have good footwork. I have that, I can take a punch, and I’m a powerful hitter. I’m a knockout artist.”

Savage has been able to travel and to meet talented boxers all over the country and even outside of the U.S. already in his career. He’s been able to meet people like Canelo Alvarez, Oscar Valdez, Frank Sanchez, and Andy Ruiz. The opportunity to fight the top heavyweights all over the world motivates him to continue training at all times.

“You know, you've gotta have a lot of discipline,” Savage said. You gotta eat, sleep, train boxing and just stay in shape and keep your body right. Anybody can call anytime and have a fight, so you have to be ready.”

Savage has also launched his own clothing line, Savage Nation Apparel, with men’s and women’s shirts and other apparel. Clothes can be ordered through his Instagram or Facebook pages, and some are now available at Dion’s Party Store, 6101 N. Saginaw Street, in Flint.

“I wanna be able to sell out an arena, I want to be able to stand out in the arena and see my people wearing Savage Nation,” he  said.

For more about Savage’s career, follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

Read more articles by Patrick Hayes.