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Growing up Judah! Interview with Daniel Judah- Part I

By Boxing Reporter and Writer Chris Cercola

Daniel Judah checked in with RealCombatMedia… in this no holds barred conversation, Daniel talks to us about what it was like growing up in Brooklyn New York, in a house of six boys, and how boxing found the Judah boys… He talks about everything from the joys that he got through boxing as an amateur in New York, to the unsavory side of boxing in the pro ranks… From how the patriarch of the Judah family, father Yoel, brought his boys closer together when their mother tragically passed away, to taking fights, all the while, not knowing whether or not he would remain a free man…

Daniel pulls no punches in this conversation, as he lays out his blueprint. He tells us what’s next, calls out people in his division by name, drops some predictions on some upcoming fights, and a whole lot more… Daniel Judah tells us what it’s like…

I was born in Brooklyn New York, I grew up in the area called Flatbush. It was a good neighborhood, there was a little American, but not for the most part there was West Indians. Growing up, I had to get used to the West Indians, I ain’t gonna say it was like, a process to get used to. I went to school with them and you know, they live around where I live, so I had to get used to them. Flatbush ain’t nothing but a lot of West Indians, I don’t know about Americans, but there’s a lot of West Indians from the islands, but you know… It’s pretty cool, once you have the hang of the people, and they get the hang of you, and we trying to reach the understandings, and we cool, and you know, they treat me with love, and they got nothing but love for me, I got nothing but love for them…

Inside my house was exciting, and very, very… like, you didn’t know what day, what person was gonna do that, or I don’t know what day the other person would yell at, scream at me, or I would come home and fight with one of my brothers… you know what I’m saying, but for the most part, inside my house was very, very disciplined. You know, my dad gave us rules, and we had to follow them. It was about him being a dad and being a father. He had to raise six boys you know what I’m… Saying, six boys in his house, and that’s pretty tough. It was him and my mom, she passed away in 2003 you know…

My mom, my dad did a hell of a job… and my grandmother’s too both of them, but for the most part you know, my dad been there… He been there from when we was little, and he’s just been guiding us in thick and thin. He’s been a real dad… My dad is lovable, but he kind of… got a few screws loose too… he crazy, so I let him be… but that household, it was very exciting, but also it was strict too… somewhat… He would direct us, let us be kids, he let us be teenagers, and let us be grown… to let us grow into adults. Humility let us be all that, but my dad didn’t hold nothing back… he came straight at us… like he came straightforward with everything. He didn’t hide nothing, thought with us… what we have to do in life, and succeed, and if we want to accomplish this, we have a go through there, and do that, you know… to give us full throttle… enough to give us what we needed to hear, and it wasn’t too much about what we wanted to hear. It’s what we needed to hear and that’s what made us…

I wasn’t really bad, but as far as fighting… yeah, I was… Out of all my brothers, even Zab, I probably caught the most knockouts in the street, and Zab will tell you that too… ask Zab who caught the most knockouts on the street… Zab caught knockouts too. For the most part, I was… my brothers, and my father, we all real close, and it’s a good move spiritually, We good, we close spiritually, and just being ourselves… we be there for each other. I watched when my dad fight Paul Visio he fought ‘em in the Garden I believe, ever since then, I wanted to be a fighter… I was a fighter… but I was watching videos of my dad fight when I was little, and he always inspired me to fight. I was always eager to fight, he’s a Leo, I’m a Leo, and I don’t know if it’s a Leo thing or whatever… It’s definitely something special. I’m like him as far as with the boxing… I’m him all over again.

It was me and my other brothers, I think at the age of six or seven years old, we all started at a young age, we were all under ten, and we started. We started out with karate, everybody liked to kick, ‘cause my dad was a kick-boxer also… and he was in jujitsu, karate… I think he was a 15 degree black belt in jujitsu. He stuck with boxing, like that because, in the boxing, he was with his boy Mark Breland… he was running with Mark Breland at the time… Mark was a good professional of the time, going to the Olympics and winning all kind of Golden Gloves… So Mark has the boxing part, my dad had the kick-boxing part, so they were was just trying to make things happen, make things come alive, that’s all.

I was seven when I went to the gym I believe. I believe I was good at it right away. The first thing he taught us was defense, that’s the number one key. Make sure you have defense, and once your defense down pat, everything else will fall into place.

I sparred with my brothers all the time! Everybody… we all sparred, and you know… we got it Crunk! We got It popping! It was real, real… first of all… I didn’t like to spar with them that much to be honest… I didn’t like to spar with them because I was a little bigger than them, you know what I’m saying, but that didn’t mean nothing, because each and every one of them can hold their own, you know what I’m saying… and everybody did good. Everybody did good, everybody took it. It was like watching these two brothers you know, but you wouldn’t know we were brothers because we would go at it as soon as the bell would ring, we would go at it like we was trying to kill each! Other people would say, “Hold on, ain’t they brothers?”…

I believe my amateur record was 88 wins 15 losses, something like that… I know I had over 100 fights. I fought international, national, local, everything. I fought throughout the whole world, I traveled you know… I had a damn good amateur career. I beat Matt Godfrey in the amateurs, he was like number three… and then after I beat him, I beat somebody else, and in the finals, I lost… but the good part about the amateurs you know, is you get the experience, and travel, and see certain things, you know. When you turn pro it’s more business orientated you know… My favorite place I went to as an amateur was, I went a lot of places… Dublin Ireland. They real cool people! That was probably one of my favorite places, Dublin Ireland, that was probably my favorite places over there ‘cause they was so cool…

My pop suggested Zab turn pro first… and you know, Zab had more experience than me, and you know, it wasn’t my time… wasn’t my time to go pro, and I’m not mad. It’s just a fact that… the fact that I probably wasn’t ready… Zab was ready, Zab was more seasoned, and you know, I probably wasn’t as seasoned and he was… probably… Zab was more devastating, When Zab was younger… Zab was a beast! He’s getting back to that point, like when he was younger, being the beast, ‘cause when he was young he was knocking everybody out, you know, he wasn’t even going the distance! When he first turned pro, the first couple of pro fights… Wheeeeeew! He was knocking everybody out! 

In the next part of this exclusive interview with Brooklyn’s own Daniel Judah, Judah speaks about turning pro, fighting Glen Johnson, training at Gleason’s gym, and his beef with Lou Del Valle.  Stay Tuned! 

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