THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE AND NEVER GIVING UP WITH DONALD BROWN
Donald Brown was born in Inglewood and lived back and forth between Southern California and Arkon, Ohio training and competing as an amateur boxer. “I played football as well but I didn’t like the fact that one person on the team could lose the game for me no matter how hard I worked! I liked that boxing was a solo sport. Just me and no excuses.”
“I remember being 7-years-old on the football team wondering why my cousins weren’t on the team… I found out they couldn’t participate because they were boxers.” Donald’s cousin, Rico Vamos, (former boxing champion), introduced 7-year-old Donald to the boxing gym and convinced his father to let him take lessons.
He fell quickly fell in love with the sport and turned to the ring for his new found comfort, hanging up his football cleats for good.
“After a year of begging my father, he finally let me do it…” With his lean frame and height just under six feet, people had their doubts about Donald’s ability to withstand the intensity of the sport of boxing. Brown shares with us some of his most difficult days as a beginner. “Everyone thought I would quit, I think my coach wanted me to quit so he could finally retire, but I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from doing what I came to do.” Donald is a fighter by nature but title belts are not the only thing he’s had to fight for.
He was only 12-years-old when his father was incarcerated so athletics was the key to him gaining the discipline and structure he needed to be a role model to his siblings while his father was locked away. As the oldest of five siblings, he had to take a lot of responsibility at a young age.“It was turning point for me, at 12-years-old I had to ask myself what I really wanted to do.”
Growing up in the inner-city of Los Angeles does not provide much opportunity for young men to be scouted in the sport of boxing so Donald knew he had to take his future into his own hands. “It was pretty painful,” Donald recalls the first time he was hit in the ring, “I was hit right in the center of my nose, of course, it hurt but I couldn’t let him know he hurt me…I kept fighting. They didn’t think I would come back, but the next day I was back at the gym.” Fighting was the only thing that kept him out of the streets and allowed him to travel to places he would not have been able to afford otherwise.
“My heart wasn’t going to let me quit, every time I got beat up I came back the next day even harder. I’m the oldest of 5 kids so I had to be responsible and I knew my father wanted what was best for me.” Donald, For the first time in his career, is getting the training and the exposure he deserves. His father is finally out of jail and is finally getting a chance to be part of Donald’s journey. He is currently training at Team Watson Boxing Club with former boxing Olympian Henry Tillman.
“I love training with Henry Tillman, before him I was on the verge of letting boxing go. I was skilled but I knew I needed to take it to the next level.” Donald believes that although there is an abundance of quality boxing trainers out there, it is important to find someone who gets to the spirit of why you are competing to begin with. “When me and Henry met, it was destiny…we pull from each other and I hope I inspire him as much as he inspires me.”
Donald’s mother has always been supportive but he shares with us that it is difficult for her to watch her son battle in the ring. He is now a father of two children and says that although he will teach them to defend themselves, he never wants them to have to fight in the ring. “They will know out how to protect themselves and be the coldest jump ropers on the block.” Despite being a monster in the ring, Donald’s witty charm and vibrant personality shine brightly outside the ring.
Donald Brown has won two national titles as and amateur and was a national junior Olympic champion in 2007. He will make is Pro Boxing debut on April 21st in Los Angeles, California. “Yes, I’ve been through a lot but when I get to that gym I can’t focus on anything but being my best and giving it my all….I know if I take this for granted, it could be gone tomorrow.”