When a writer sits down to begin a composition, whether he’s a reporter or an author, one of the things he or she strives for is a hook. A hook is the point of interest that grabs the reader and holds him captive until he finishes reading. A writer who can fabricate or discover a hook will ensnare his readers – even against their will – and that will keep his articles, books, or stories in demand as long as he can churn them out.
Consequently, one fatal trap for a writer is the subject which presents no obvious hook. The person or event about which he is writing has no rough edges, no gripping drama – no angle presents itself – and then he’s got a dilemma. Why would anyone begin reading this article? Once they’ve started, why would they finish?
Tyler Hultin, a product of the amateur boxing club of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, isn’t loud or obnoxious. In fact he’s placidly self-assured. He doesn’t self-promote or brag about his great future accomplishments. He deflects attention from himself and compliments others, sometimes even at his own expense.
This is the dilemma presented by Tyler Hultin. He’s modest, polite, mild-mannered, and self-effacing. What am I supposed to write about a guy like that? Who does he think he is, putting me in this position?
This is Tyler Hultin:
He originally got into boxing at the age of 14 without his parents’ blessing. In fact, he worked out with the Fergus Falls club for a good eight months before coming clean, and he only did it then because he wanted to enter competition. Hultin lost his first fight, and the next three after that. “It was a pretty rocky start. Very rocky,” Hultin smiles. “I lost pretty bad. I had my doubts, thought maybe this isn’t really for me, but instead of giving up I pushed myself pretty hard.”
All that hard work eventually paid off, as Hultin earned a Silver Gloves title in 2003, the Golden Gloves region IV title at 152# from 2004 through 2006, the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves title in 2006, and then the Region IV title at 165# from 2007 through 2009. Along the way Hultin amassed a cumulative record of 80-27 over a nine-year career, and ultimately won over his mom. “After my mom came to the fights for the first time, now she’s the loudest fan I have. Oh yeah, she’s a die-hard,” Hultin winks.
Maybe it’s natural, and maybe everyone feels this way about their club, but Hultin thinks there’s something special about the Fergus Falls club. “Our club doesn’t win the most awards or the most championships, but I think that we’re the most feared club in the area. I mean, fighters coming in from other clubs are confident that they’ll win, but they also know that win or lose, they’re going to have been in a fight. They’re going to feel it the next day.”
Hultin turned pro in May of this because he was feeling restless and bored, and because of a particular phone call. “In amateurs it got so nothing was original – you knew how everything was going to go down, and I was always at a certain weight, and you pretty much knew who was out there to fight…I think I fought one guy sixteen times. I got my name known throughout the amateur scene, but it didn’t really get me anywhere.” Then came a fateful phone call: “After my last year of Golden Gloves I was just about ready to hang up my gloves. And Andy Kolle called me and goes, ‘I heard that you wanted to go pro for so long, are you ready to do it?’ I told him I was thinking about hanging it up and he asked me, ‘Is that really what you want or is it just nerves and false thoughts?’ I thought about it and I decided that I can’t get out of it. I’m only 22 years old I have to keep going. So Andy had a lot to do with it.”
Of course, the last two pro fighters to come out of Fergus Falls (Kolle and the Jungle Boy, Zach Walters) have moved to Duluth to train at Horton’s Gym. I asked Hultin whether he might do the same. “The thought has come into my head, but for now I’m in school in Alexandria, and I’m committed to finishing that. The Saint Cloud Golden Gloves team wanted me to move down there and train them, too, but now that I’ve gone pro I’ll hold off on those things for a while.”
Back in Fergus Falls there’s another Hultin who Tyler would like boxing fans to know about, and that’s his little brother Tanner Hultin. “If he had my conditioning he would probably be better than me. He’s a southpaw, too!” Tanner is 18 years old and still in high school, but Tyler offers high praise: “Tanner is my best sparring partner.”
To date Hultin has only had the one pro fight, winning his debut contest against Lakendriek Craig with a first-round knockout on May 21st up in Duluth. What his future holds, Hultin won’t speculate. His goals are articulated thusly: “First, to keep fighting, and second, to work my way up.” I explained that most fighters use their interviews to predict a signature win or a championship, or some other kind of great success. “I think one day, yes. That would be nice. I have a lot to learn first.”
The Fistic Mystic says: Continuing a great new tradition in Minnesota boxing, I asked Hultin to name some other young fighters whose names we should remember. There were no stunning revelations, but as usual, some candid and interesting recollections.
“Obviously, my brother Tanner Hultin.”
Javontae Starks – “We clashed heads back in ’07 or ’08, then he dropped me with a body shot. I finished the fight, though.”
Jamal James – “You don’t hear very much about him, but he’s really good.”
Robert Brant – “I fought him twice, lost them both. He’s a natural.” A prodigy, even? “Yes, and he’s a nice guy, too. Going to give Kelly Pavlik a run for his money. I’m serious.”