Gabriel Duluc is a 23 year old upcoming boxer from Dorchester, MA. With a professional record of 8-0, Duluc is on his way to a promising career. But his journey thus far has been anything but easy. Alongside his mother, he made his way to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 2000, when he was only 10 years old. He began training at the age of 14 at the Grealish Boxing Club; under the wing of well respected boxing coach, Martin Grealish. Duluc showed dedication and passion for the sport since day one. But his will to fight was tested, after being denied entrance to several boxing tournaments, due to his illegal status of residency (at that time in his early career). The average person might have thrown in the gloves in this situation, but not Duluc. After years of paper work and a long stressful process, the fight for his residency proved to be his biggest win yet. Since then, he has set his eyes on becoming a legend. After competing in numerous tournaments around the nation, Duluc has successfully brought home numerous belts. 3 of which are hanging up in the gym, as trophies (or a reminder). It's easy to assume they are on display to serve as a confident booster, but I see much more. I see proof that obstacles are only there to test your faith and ambition.
John Hutchinson (left), Gabriel Duluc (right)
After witnessing Gabriel in action (sparring), I had the privilege of sitting down with him and asking him a few questions.
Besides the issue with your residency, were there any other challenges that held you back from boxing?
"The streets held me back, because I wanted to play outside. I loved the streets but I chose boxing. Boxing is the type of sport that requires most of your attention. You live your life according to boxing."
Have you ever felt like quitting?
"Yes, of course."
Think of all those moments that you felt like quitting, why didn't you?
"Umm, I don't know. I kept giving myself chances. My body kept bringing me back here (to the gym). It's become a part of me. It's 80% me. Like, everything I do I have to think of boxing first. It's hard because you want to live your life like everyone else. Like, when my friends call and invite me to a party or the pool. I would like to go but I have to train."
How much to you work out (train)?
"I work out a couple hours a day; two or three hours a day. When I have a fight, I train Monday through Saturday (5-6 days out the week). When I don't have a fight coming up, I'll train Monday through Friday (4-5 days out the week)."
How many fights have you had thus far?
"8 professional fights. All wins. One was a stoppage; I stopped one kid. The rest were a unanimous decision. So, so far so good."
I'm aware you been boxing now for almost 10 years straight. Can you see yourself doing this forever?
"Yes, definitely. That's what I want but I don't know. I'm not a loser. So if I'm losing and doing bad (in my boxing career) I don't think I would continue doing it. I'm not that type (of person) that would do it for the money or fame. I would do it for the passion but I'm a winner. I have to be good at it."
Besides boxing, what does Gabriel Duluc enjoy doing?
"I like playing basketball, although I'm not that good at it [laughs]. I like hanging out with people and being around friends. I'm really social; I enjoy sitting around and talking."
I know your friends encourage you. But how does your mom feel about you wanting to become a boxer?
"She's definitely happy because she sees the man I am now. She sees how boxing turned my life around. When I was younger, I wasn't a bad kid but I did stupid things with my friends [smiles]. Now she sees how hard I work and how I'm walking in a straight line."
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
"I do and they are proud of me too. They are older then me but I feel like they look up to me still. My sister is in her 30s and my brother is 28, I think. They are in the Dominican republic still. I feel like I have to do it for them too because over there, they don't have a lot of money or stuff. So anytime they need money, I help them out."
The fact that you have family over there (Dominican Republic) and came from poverty, do you feel pressured? Do you feel like their golden ticket?
"I definitely feel pressure; a little bit. that's why I do it. To help my brother, my sister, my mom... my family. One day I want to be able to help them and buy them a house. One day I want them to be good (well off). even if it doesn't happen through boxing, I'm going to do it no matter what. I'm a fighter in life. I'm going to work two to three jobs, go to school... something. That's my goal. I'm going to do something to help them. That's just how I feel."
Last question: There has been talk about racism playing a role in Zimmerman's verdict. Do you feel race plays a role in society itself?
"People definitely look at you different. They look at it like a 'this is not your country' type of thing. But I think that's human. You're Puerto Rican, right? (Yes.) Ok, I'm Dominican. Let's say your the boss. I'm applying for a job and there is another Puerto Rican who is also applying for that job. We are exactly the same. But you might choose him just because you can relate with him more. Then, your relative wants the job and you give it to him instead. Like, the closer it gets to you, the more you are willing to help. So that's just life. You can't get involved in that. If you get in that, you won't go no where. I know that racism exist, but I try not to feed into it."