Dustin Fleischer is a New Jersey native who is is proficient in the martial arts and is a two-time state Golden Gloves champ. He fights because he has a passion for it and he realized that this was his calling.
“It was my mother’s idea. As a kid the movie “Karate Kid” was popular and watching that I would practice some of the moves I saw. My mom loved to dress me up in pretty funny looking outfits. I would kind of get picked on so they sent me to karate,” Fletcher said. “I met a very influential person in my life, master, John Gaddy. He teaches a style of karate called “Shito-Ryu” in New Jersey. He comes to every fight and I still work with him.”
So far he’s undefeated at 4-0. At the age of 25 fans have a chance to follow a potential champion early in his career. He’s signed on with RocNation Sports and they are making sure he stays busy.
“My next fight isn’t signed yet. We’re looking to fight in three weeks in Boston, MA. I’m trying to finish the year off at 7-0. I’m trying to fight once a month until January,” Fleischer said like a promoter. “I’m fighting 4 rounders. I haven’t fought 12 yet….I won’t have to rest and recover as much as a championship fight….A lot of people think when you turn pro you’re making a million dollars. Boxing really isn’t like that. You have to really build your record.”
Growing up with a mother who converted to Judaism, and a father who’s Jewish, Fleischer takes his religion seriously and he brings his grandfather’s chai, a Holocaust survivor, into each match with him.
“I started it when I was an amateur. It all started when he passed away. It gives me comfort. It’s a reminder of what I have in me. What may family possesses and what we can do. It’s a tradition. I wouldn’t fight without it,” he divulged.
Like most Jewish athlete there was a time when a bout did fall on Yom Kippur and he had to ask for that bout to be rescheduled.
“Around two year’s ago I was supposed to make my professional debut and I realized it was on Yom Kippur. I told them I wasn’t going to fight on that date. I didn’t and it seemed like it happened for a reason. I was going to sign with a different promoter for this fight and wouldn’t have met with RocNation. There’s no other promoter I’d rather be fighting with” he said.
Fleischer is very aware of the other Jewish boxers of his era the same way my father made me aware of Max Baer who was the heavyweight champion of the world back when my grandfather was a young adult (side note, Baer beat German heavyweight champ, Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in 1933. He regularly spewed Adolf Hitler’s propoganda)
“I’ve seen more of the recent Jewish boxers like Dmitry Salita and probably one of my favorites, Yuri Foreman,” said Fleischer. “I was able to meet Yuri Foreman on a media day for my second professional fight. I was working out at Gleason’s gym in New York. He was a real stand up guy. Talking to me and giving me advice. It was surreal. It was a real cool thing.”
Growing up in the Metro area, Fleischer became a Mets fan. He has a real passion for the team and when Yoenis Cespedes was traded to the team he loved he was over the moon. Cespedes is also represented by RocNation and he’s been slugging home runs for the Mets since he arrived helping them to clinch their first playoff berth since 2006.
“It’s amazing that possibly the best player on the team has the same sports management agency,” he said happily. “It felt a lot like a dream. When I grew up watching the Mets it was really their bad time. We went to the Subway Series game in 2000 at Shea Stadium where the Yankees clinched (I was at that game as well and left as the Yankees celebrated). Oh man. The Yankees celebrated at Shea Stadium. I was very young. We probably walked out too.
“I lived through the collapse of 2008 when they just had to win 1 more game… I was like Dad, why did you have to raise me to be a Mets fan?”
Then something sparked in him and he said, “But this year they seem like they have that spark, bro. I think it’s really going to take them far. It would be really cool if they could win a championship. That would be the best.”
The Junior Welterweight currently fights at 140 pounds. He’s tough but he has a great message for kids who learn how to fight and how to handle that.
“One thing Karate taught me. It just gave me the confidence to walk away from a fight. There’s a way to tell them. I’m not scared of you I’m confident in who I am and I don’t need to fight you. And they just kind of backed off.” Fleischer stated.
Fleischer scored a TKO in 2 min and 48 seconds in the first round this past Saturday.
photo – Fleischer against Frank Jordan