This summer was supposed to be an epic one for the ages as the world to witnessed the next generation of world-class athletes representing their home country at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans as everything was forced to be shut down or rescheduled to next year. But this didn't stop one ambitious fighter who is on the prowl to show why he is the next one up to put his name amongst the greats in boxing. Get familiar with Darius Fulghum.
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Darius is not your typical fighter. The Texas native has a heart full of gold and ambition as strong as a tidal wave while letting his hands do all of the talking... and healing. Before he decided to take boxing seriously, Fulgham received a Nursing degree at an HBCU known as Prairie View A&M University. With his background as a talented high school wrestler, Fulgham decided to try his hand at boxing and it's paid off in a major way.
In December, Darius made history by becoming the second boxer ever to finish first in the US Olympic Trials despite starting the tournament as the #8 seed. The sky's the limit for Fulgham as he gained confidence knowing he can do the impossible — bring home the gold medal to the United States after a 32-year drought in the heavyweight division.
Associate Editor Omari White spoke with Darius about his journey to becoming the next heavyweight prizefighter. As COVID-19 stopped everyone's plans of the pursuit of greatness, Fulghum has ways around to go the distance and take it one round at a time en route to rewriting history.
Omari: I know you were preparing for the Olympics. You planning to fight for gold in the heavyweight division but COVID stopped everything. Can you give me a breakdown of how you're feeling and how you're staying focused towards accomplishing that feat?
Darius: Well, a lot has changed since it happened but it's just devastating. I should be in Tokyo right now, you know, and that's one of those things that kind of hits you. It's like, damn, it's just one more year, a lot, a lot of change since I first got the news. It's kind of been a whole process. Things keep changing. We keep hearing different things. "Oh, this is going to happen, then this going to happen." So then there were at least a lot of disappointment, but ultimately, Tokyo is still the plan for next year, and I'm aiming to be there around that same time. At least, that gave us a new goal to look forward to. You know, it kind of puts something back on our mind, especially when you don't have anything looking forward to like training at some point seems meaningless but eventually got to find the purpose. Once you find your purpose, you know, everything is back to normal. So when the news first hit completely devastated, bro, you know, but they would all bounce back and now we kind of get back into the groove of things. So we're starting to get it started to pick back up though.
Omari: I noticed that you got your degree, your Nursing degree at Prairie View A&M University. I want to ask you like has COVID-19 opened your eyes to the importance of having a degree? If you decided you want to, you know, go back to get your master's right now, would you mind being out there to fight the spread or you still want to continue to focus on your career en route to becoming a world champion fighter?
Darius: Man, there were so many opportunities that I want to present it in nursing. But I have my obligations in boxing that I have right now. And this is my dream bro. So this is something that I put boxing on the side, to focus on nursing, to get my degree to finish school. And so now I finished, I put all my eggs in the basket. I'm all in on boxing. This is my passion. That's what I love doing. You know, I get to have fun training with all these great teammates. I get to travel across the country, across the world, right? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can't pass up. You know? So, um, there's something I have to do now. And of course, you know, I still have friends that are nursing and there's a lot of opportunities in nursing that can open for me. But it's just something I gotta do, you know, this is my love.
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