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Aug 09th
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Home Boxing The John Bray Story
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The John Bray Story

john_bray_boxing_03John Bray grew up in the tough streets of the San Fernando Valley in Van Nuys, California.  What most people don’t know about John is that he is of Irish and Mexican descent and was raised by both his Mexican mother and grandmother.  He grew up along with his five siblings in a traditional Catholic household.  In 1980, at age 9, John began his amateur boxing career in which he would eventually win seven national titles, with an outstanding record of 124-12.
Former U.S.A Amateur Champion
In 1985, John won his first national title at 156 pounds in the National PAL tournament as well as a bronze medal at the National Junior Olympics in 1985 in Peoria, Illinois.  The next year he would win his second national title at the National Junior Olympics where he was voted most outstanding fighter of the Nationals at light heavyweight.  In 1987, at just 17 years old, John represented the U.S. National team at the Scandinavian tournament and in 1988, won the silver medal at the Western Olympics trials in Houston, Texas. 

He then won his third and fourth national titles in 1989 where he took gold at the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival in Oklahoma City and the World Box Off in Concord, California, earning him an opportunity to represent the U.S. at the 1989 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

John’s fifth and sixth national titles came at the Goodwill Box Off’s in Las Vegas, Nevada, which qualified him  to represent the U.S. in the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, Washington. In 1991, John won the U.S. Nationals, in Colorado Springs.  That same year, Bray would have his most notable win as an amateur winning his second ever gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival in Los Angeles against Melvin Foster.  John would receive his gold medal alongside future world Champions Oscar De la Hoya and Raul Marquez. This would qualify John to represent the U.S. at the 1991 World Championships in Sydney, Australia.

Professional Boxer

Bray turned professional in 1992 and ended his career with a final record of 15-3-2.  John had the opportunity to be mentored by historic trainers such as Angelo Dundee, Lou Duva, George Benton, Tommy Brooks, Joe Goosen and Richie Giachetti.  During his career John served as sparring partners for Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, and Mike McCallum.  Bray then suffered a near fatal stroke in 1999 and walked away from boxing with the notion that he would never return.

World Champion Trainer

John did return to boxing and definitely learned his lesson from his misguided days and taking life for granted.  He vowed to keep kids off the streets, assist young boxers with their careers and hopefully one-day establish his own gym.  John was invited to Joe Goosen’s Gym to help out and little by little got back on his feet.  At Goosen’s is where he would meet one of his longtime pupils and former Contender participant of Season One, Miguel Espino

John used the knowledge he gained from his prior trainers and went on to train other notable fighters such as Tommy Morrison, Jose Celaya, Lance Whittaker, Jeremy Williams and Art Simonyan who he transformed from a club fighter to the #1 contender in the world at 122 lbs and the U.S.B.A. champ.  He was also asked to train Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero who was an up and coming boxing prospect.  John would eventually lead “The Ghost” to the IBF World Featherweight Championship, an accomplishment he had dreamed of for years both as a professional boxer and trainer. 

After opening up his own gym, Bray was honored to have received a phone call from Contender Executive Producer Jeff Wald and was asked to participate in Season 4 of the Contender TV Series as a trainer.   John really enjoyed the opportunity to pass on his knowledge of the sweet science to up and coming boxers and to work alongside his one-time trainer and boxing legend Tommy Brooks. 

The John Bray Boxing Foundation was formed in 2008 in conjunction with the John Bray Boxing Club which was a boxing program/gym in San Fernando, California founded by trainer John Bray.  The John Bray Boxing Club had much success by transforming at-risk youth in the neighborhood into outstanding amateur fighters as well as disciplined young adults and children.


The John Bray Boxing Club has held successful community events such as the 1st and 2nd Annual John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic where local children listened to professional boxers and community leaders provide top-notch instruction and tips on training, nutrition, life skills and attitude development.  The event was attended by Former Two-Time Heavyweight Champion Tommy Morrison, Former Contender TV Series Star and current WBC CABOFE Middleweight Champion Miguel Espino, Former World Champions Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas, Former Welterweight Contender Randy Shields, Former Middleweight Contender Alex “the Bronx Bomber” Ramos and Carlos “The Cutman” Vargas from the Reality TV Series Contender.  The event was sponsored by Everlast Boxing Inc. and Glaceau Vitamin Water.

In addition to the free youth boxing clinic, the John Bray Boxing Club has held amateur shows while most recently teaming up with the LAPD Jeopardy Program.  This amateur show was very successful as attendance was more than what was anticipated as roughly 300 people attended the event from all over Southern California.  This show gave the boxers the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of their families, friends and community, which is exactly what kids need to make them feel like their worth something.

The John Bray Boxing Foundation will now sponsor the annual events of the John Bray Boxing Club and accomplish its mission by providing educational programs at the youth center including scholarships for well deserved students and amateur boxers.  The Foundation will also sponsor the John Bray Boxing Clubs’ amateur boxers and associated equipment in the gym.  The activities sponsored by the John Bray Boxing Foundation will be funded from various fundraisers, donations and boxing events.


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Reid Polino  - The John Bray Story |
Very good article. Expect to integrate this.
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