Former USC defensive end Gerald Washington has high expectations as both a football player and professional boxer. Washington recently signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and also plans to make his mark in heavyweight boxing. Washington is training to make his pro boxing debut in early 2010. He has demonstrated outstanding speed, coordination and agility in his football career and has transitioned these skills over to boxing.
Washington towers at 6-foot-5 and weighs a solid 262 pounds. The 27- year- old multi-talented athlete trains at the 1950’s style Fortunes Gym in Hollywood and Gio’s Brooklyn Boxing Club in Burbank, California six days a week. He has worked long and hard and is anxiously waiting to make his 2010 pro debut. Washington is presently trained by boxing trainer Mike Rodriguez along with California Boxing Hall of Famer John Bray. The two former heavyweight boxers see a wealth of potential in Washington in the heavyweight division. Washington is of Mexican and African descent carries an impressive resume including 4 years of experience with the U.S. Navy where he states he learned several valuable skills. In a recent exclusive interview with Convicted Artist Gerald Washington had this to say.
Steven Arredondo (SA): Can you tell us a little bit about where you are originally from?
Gerald Washington (GW): I was born San Jose, California and raised in Vallejo, CA. I lived in San Francisco for a little bit then I later moved to Vallejo. And then from there I was in the 5th grade and I began boxing again in the Omega Boys & Girls Club.
SA: How long have you been fighting now and where did you get your start in boxing?
GW: I have been fighting now since June of this year. When I got back from Buffalo, I started working out and started training with Mike Rodriguez.
SA: What do you hope to accomplish as a professional fighter and where do you see yourself as a heavyweight contender?
GW: I train out of Fortunes Gym in Hollywood and Gio’s Brooklyn Boxing Club in Burbank.
SA: How is training going?
GW: Great, I train 6 days a week. I am learning a lot from Mike Rodriguez. I also receive training from John Bray from time to time, he helps me out.
SA: What do you want to achieve as a professional boxer in the heavyweight division?
GW: To become World Champion!
SA: How would you describe your style? What do you feel you can improve on?
GW: I like to be pretty athletic in the ring. I am not one to be just standing there, a one two guy. I like to move around. Use movement and use my athletic ability and speed. I don’t want to be like a lot of the heavyweights out there right now. That are just like sluggers. Boom! Boom! No, I want to use my speed, movement and jabs.
SA: What do you feel you can improve on?
GW: I can improve on continuing putting my punches together and combinations. Just creating more angles and keep going and always working on my stamina. You can always work on your stamina to be able to go forever. So I want to be able to just go to the point so that I can always be on my A Game.
SA: What are your greatest strengths in the ring?
GW: My speed, my height, size and reach. Putting all my tools together to try to work the ring. I try and use my size and presence in the ring to control it. I try to control the fight.
SA: Do you have any favorite fighters that you look up to or have patterned yourself after?
GW: My favorite fighters are Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson. But I like to watch all fighters. I watch a lot of the taller fighters now like Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko and see how they use their size for an advantage.
SA: Did you ever think you would be going pro as a boxer?
GW: It was always a possibility for me. After I got done playing football it crossed my mind again. I always had boxing in my heart so it was always an option for me. I am glad that I was able to get in and meet the right people. And take the necessary steps up to pursing it.
SA: You had a 4-year career with the U.S. Navy. Can you tell us what inspired and motivated you to join our military?
GW: I was in ROTC for 4 years when I was in high school, from 9th grade to my senior year. I just got the little bug in me and I just appreciated the military. I looked up to them and always wanted to be a part of it. I just wanted to serve my country.
SA: What did you learn from this experience?
GW: I learned a lot of leadership skills and to work with people. How to get the job done, be dependable, reliable and how to focus on the task at hand.
SA: You made it onto the nation’s top two-year football programs after serving our country. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
GW: I came from Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, I played there as a tight end. When I first got to Chaffey College I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was trying to go to a 4 year school but I did not know where I would end up or how good a school I could get into. After my first season it took off and it just forward from there. USC (University of Southern California) came and they offered me a scholarship along with several other schools. And of course they were winning and going to the national championships. Last year they played in Texas. I wanted to be part of a winning program and go be a winner. And they are in Southern California and I like it out here so I chose to go to USC.
SA: Earlier this year you signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills. How has it been going and how do you feel?
GW: I signed with the Buffalo Bills right after school. Just coming from USC was a great experience and we just got used to winning and I just love playing so my other opportunity to go to the Bills was the next step. I took it in and I mean it felt great to join an NFL Team.
SA: Personal quotes?
GW: Make it Happen!
SA: Thank you for this interview, Gerald Washington.. Is there anything else that you would like to include?
GW: Just wanted to say something about my mom. My parents have always supported me. And my mom has always been tough and I get that from her. I just like to thank her for being there.