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Dwyke Flemmings Jr., born to fight, wants to get the most out of boxing

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Dwyke Flemmings Jr. takes a look at Luis Briceno after knocking him out 45 seconds into their fight in December of 2023. Photo by Carlo Estonactoc

For a 20-year-old, Dwyke Flemmings Jr. sure is a busy man.

The junior middleweight prospect from Paterson, N.J. breeds pit bulls, and is expecting a few litters this year. He’s also planning to start his own dog food company and taking real estate classes online to branch into that field as well. Oh yeah, and he’s also one of the top up-and-coming boxers from New Jersey.

Even with his many other interests, Flemmings knows that his success in the ring will set the table for his success in other endeavors.

“Boxing is my life so I’m using boxing as a gateway to open up a bunch of other opportunities in the future,” said Flemmings (5-0, 5 knockouts).

“I want to make it and dominate this sport first and then all the business things can come after. The main thing is boxing, everything comes second to boxing.”

Flemmings will get a chance to show off his first passion to a bigger audience this Wednesday when he faces Rufino Lewis (1-5-1, 1 KO) in a four-round bout at Whitesands Events Center in Plant City, Fla. The fight will open up a ProBox TV card which is headlined by a lightweight showdown between Justin Pauldo and Miguel Madueno.

Flemmings will be fighting for the first time as a pro outside of the New York metropolitan area, but he expects to have enough crowd support to feel like he’s fighting back home.

“The environment won’t really affect me because I got family in Florida, I have a lot of people that love me in Florida so Florida is like a second home for me,” said Flemmings. “It’s gonna be a big crowd for me and that will help me get a little more comfortable in the ring but no matter where I’m at, I’ll always feel the same way.”

If Flemmings sounds like he’s a natural in the ring, it’s because he’s been at it since he was in diapers, sparring with his sisters at age three.

“They were all older than me, they used to punch on me,” laughed Flemmings, who people refer to as DJ.

His father and trainer, Dwyke Flemmings Sr., says his son first got into wrestling as a kid because he was too young to box – USA Boxing has a minimum age of 8 required for competition. Dwyke Sr., a hardcore fan of the New York Jets, tried putting his son in football but it wasn’t a perfect fit.

“He had no concept of football. The first person he locked up with, he was fighting. He’s always been a physical kid,” said Flemmings Sr.

“There were kids he was beating up in sparring that were able to fight but he couldn’t fight because he wasn’t eight yet. He was such a pro at eight years old, it was crazy with his knowledge of it.”

It was in Dwyke Jr.’s blood to be a fighter. His great uncle Rufus “The Hawk” Miller, was a lightweight pro in the 1970s who compiled a record of 13-5-1 (4 KOs) and faced title challenger Juan Jose Gimenez and Mickey Ward’s uncle/trainer Dick Eklund. His father Dwyke Sr. had been an amateur boxer and was licensed to turn pro but had to put his career to rest in order to take care of his growing family. Dwyke Sr. has worked for AT&T for 27 years as a network engineer, setting up point of presence locations (PoPs) all over the country to get telephone providers ready for the internet during the early days of dial-up connectivity.

Dwyke Flemmings Jr. and his father Dwyke Sr. Photo by Carlo Estonactoc

With his boxing career behind him, Dwyke Sr.’s dream lived on through his son, who had about 80 amateur fights, finishing second in the 2018 Junior Olympics national tournament in Charleston, West Virginia and competing internationally in Spain and Hungary.

He turned pro on Christmas Day of 2021, midway through his senior year. A promotional free agent, he has signed with manager Nirobi Al Pasha, and has barely had to take a deep breath in his fights, with his longest fight being midway through the third round.

He says he has seen Lewis, a 30-year-old from Florida who goes by the nickname “Baked Chicken,” and hopes he can last long enough to show the public a bit more of what his skills look like. And if not, it isn’t the end of the world.

“Whatever they put on my plate I’m just supposed to take care of it. When the challenges come, we want to make sure the paper is right, the exposure is right, want to make sure the whole table is set for that moment. Right now at the stage we’re in, I’m supposed to be getting these guys out of there because they’re not on my level. If I’m going to split decisions with these guys, that’s basically a loss on my part,” said Flemmings Jr.

“My mindset is just, these guys don’t belong in the ring with you so get them out of there.”

Dwyke Sr. says the real tests so far have been in the gym, where he’s gotten championship level sparring with fighters like Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Julian Williams and Jaron Ennis. He adds that Dwyke Jr. will move up to six round bouts after this, and already has plans to fight in Missouri in March before returning home to compete at a card at the Prudential Center in Newark in April.

“It’s just the road to 10-0, things don’t really start until you hit 10-0, we’ll be able to sit down and talk when you get to 10-0,” said Dwyke Flemmings Sr.

“We’re doing the legwork instead of getting with a promoter and having him do the legwork. We’re doing the legwork ourselves so we’ll be able to talk different when we come to the table.”

Dwyke Jr. may have lots of plans and interests in life, but he isn’t going to shortchange himself in the ring.

“I got all types of motivations. The main thing is just, I put in a lot of time, I’ve dedicated myself to boxing. I’ll be crushed if I don’t get the most out of it. That’s what pushes me to never stop until I get. I love boxing so much, I’m waiting for boxing to love me back,” said Flemmings Jr.

Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].

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