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Franchon Crews-Dezurn on fighting for an undisputed title, American Idol, and her memorable bad hair day

The unified super middleweight champion spoke with Bad Left Hook in advance of her fight against Elin Cederroos

Jaime Munguia v Patrick Allotey Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images
John Hansen joined Bad Left Hook as a staff writer in 2021 and co-hosts the "Prophets of Goom" podcast.

Franchon Crews-Dezurn is ready to take on Elin Cederroos and determine an undisputed super middleweight champion.

She had to wait three months longer than expected, but her wait is almost over. On Tuesday, September 14th, Crews-Dezurn (7-1, 2 KO) will put her WBC and WBO belts on the line against WBA and IBF champion Elin Cederroos (8-0, 4 KO) as part of the second installment of Triller’s monthly “TrillerVerz” boxing/rap battle showcase.

Crews-Dezurn spoke with Bad Left Hook about next week’s fight, her moment of viral fame back in 2020, her experience on an early season of American Idol, and her dedication to following her own path, no matter what obstacles might be in her way.

Our conversation follows, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Golden Boy

BAD LEFT HOOK: We’re talking a few days before your four-belt unification fight. And it’s a little bit of déjà vu, because you were originally scheduled to have the fight as part of Triller’s Lopez-Kambosos card back in June. How far in advance did you find out that your fight would have to be postponed?

FRANCHON CREWS-DEZURN: I was literally getting onto my shuttle from Fort Lauderdale to Miami when I got notification that the fight was off. I was in Florida, getting ready to go to the host hotel and start the festivities when I was told that it was postponed. I had already been in Florida a couple of days acclimating for the fight. Then, literally before I hopped on my shuttle, I was told the fight was postponed. So, I had to drive over to Miami knowing that I wasn’t going to fight.

Do you feel as ready as you were then? Better? Where do you feel you are fighting now in September instead of back in June?

It’s the same crap, different toilet. I’m here to fight. I’m here to win. Honestly, it might be a little worse because of what I’ve been through dealing with the situation [of a delayed fight]. I’m not happy. I’m happy for the opportunity, but not the whole route to get there.

But, this is my journey. I don’t question my journey, I just live it. And it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. I’m just living in the moment.

We were ready for you to fight in June as well! Jonathon Henschel and I did fight predictions for that weekend, and we had already started writing ours for your fight. I had you to win, for the record.

I don’t know what his pick was going to be... He’s Canadian, so he probably would have preferred for you both to just talk through any disagreements and then shake hands.

[Laughs] Well, you’re a smart man, then.

I’m happy that it’s going to be an entertaining show. There hasn’t really been anything done like this. It’s really getting my blood pumping, in a good way. The excitement is taking me back to my amateur days. You land, get off the plane, weigh in, and go fight. So, it’s cool for me.

A lot of our readers will remember you from a fight back in January 2020 on the Jaime Munguia vs. Spike O’Sullivan card. You had a great action fight back then, and you also had your viral moment in that one as well because of the issues with your hair.

Well, you know what? I had one of the most famous entertainers in the world post about it. Snoop Dogg spoke about it, made a joke. Then months later, I got to commentate with him. And next week, he may be at my fight. I’m working with the same network he’s working with, and that’s just how life goes.

It was a confidence builder for myself, and it also encouraged other women to not be stuck to the constructs of their hair, weight, or anything. So, it’s still “fuck that hair,” because I’m about to get all the belts!

It reminded me of Ronnie Lott, an old NFL football player who actually cut off part of his finger to make sure he wouldn’t have to miss any game action. I thought your situation was pretty badass, honestly.

Listen, that’s how you’ve gotta go! I’m a person that’s very focused. If I want something, I go get it. No matter the cost, as long as it doesn’t compromise my integrity. It showed what I was really made of, and I think I gained more fans that night through that dramatic situation, fighting a drug cheat, than any other time. So, I’m proud of myself, and a lot of other people are proud, too.

I want to go back all the way back to when you were seventeen, and you were on American Idol.

I don’t want to talk too much about the audition itself. Although, I watched it before our conversation, and I think that if they’d made him answer first? I think Mark McGrath was going to give you a “Yes.”

Yup. Yup. But, you know what? I’ve met the real Sugar Ray. I don’t have to name a band after Sugar Ray. I just saw the real one a few weeks ago.

My life just plays out. I always say I feel like Cinderella. Because people kept doubting me and looking down on me even though they knew I was popping. And people are going to see on September 14th. They’re going to see me make history and become the first super middleweight undisputed champion of the world!

That’s the reason I brought it up! Because as you were leaving the audition, you said it was okay things didn’t work out, you’d just go be a boxing champion instead. Now, you’re sitting here holding two belts. And this time next week? If it all goes the way you want it to, you’ll be holding four of them. It’s amazing to me that you could be so confident and pursue that goal, and now all these years later you’re right where you said you would be.

I fought in January of 2021. It’s nine months later. You’re about to witness the birth of greatness, nine months later. On the 14th? You think of birth, the contractions, the labor pains you go through? The end result is life. And I’m about to give everyone life on the 14th.

Claressa Shields vs Franchon Crews Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

You started out tough. Your first pro fight was on short notice against Claressa Shields. You’ve never seemed hesitant to take on challenges to make things happen for yourself.

Nobody ever gave me anything. I had to earn it, or create opportunities. So, I’m built for this. I have a great coaching staff with Barry Hunter. My husband, Glenn Dezurn, Jr. is everything, and he’s my training partner. I have a great team behind me. I have great ability. So, that’s what makes me confident. I know I’m going to do what I have to do.

It seems like since the streaming era of boxing started, we’ve seen a bigger spotlight and more opportunities for female fighters. What is that like for you as an active fighter? Does it feel like doors are opening that weren’t even available five or six years ago?

Of course!

Honestly? A lot of people tell me I’m underrated, as far as the women getting pushed to the top. But, I don’t need validation from anybody. Because I’m the one taking punches, and my own accolades speak highly. I just know, in my journey? If you do the work? Your time is your time. Overnight success usually takes 15 years. So, I’m happy with the work I’ve put in. That the pioneers before me put in to create opportunities for women’s boxing. I just do my part every time I step in the ring.

I know what your goal is for next week. Given how accurate you were with your predictions for yourself 15 years back or so, what are your goals 15 years from now? When the fighting is over, what do you want to be? What’s the next act?

[Humorous voice] I don’t know!

I just go! I know I want to be successful, and I already did a lot of things I wanted to do. That creates a legacy. As far as maybe giving back to the younger generation? Being an example through my trials, tribulations, and accomplishments.

Wherever the universe takes me? That’s where I’m going, and I’m going to make the most of it.

Anything else you want to tell people about next week’s fight?

[Laughing, confident] Tune in, if you can. Ha!

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