Onondaga boxer Lawrence Gabriel, (Eel Clan) made his professional debut on a brisk Saturday night in Liverpool, NY at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. Lawrence’s win in a four-round,unanimous decision comes one year after he was shot four times.
While working as a bouncer at a Syracuse, New York pub, Gabriel wrestled a gunman out of the door, potentially saving lives. Lawrence was one of six people shot that night. Four surgeries were required in order for Gabriel to heal his injuries before he could step back in the ring.
After a year of training, he signed with JKJ Championship Promotions. On the night of his debut fight Lawrence displayed a calm focus while speaking with reporters. His hands were taped, and he was lightly throwing punches outside of his trainer’s room to stay loose.
Alex Hamer Photo
Lawrence Gabriel, hands taped ready for his pro boxing debut Feb 2016
“I wasn’t going to give up just because something bad happened to me.” Lawrence told ICTMN when asked about what kept him going through it all.
There was a large show of support for Gabriel, creating an electric atmosphere. Chants of ‘Lawrence! Lawrence!’ erupted a few times during the bout. His opponent landed a few solid overhand rights but the Onondaga boxer withstood the blows.
Gabriel won the four-round match by unanimous decision after controlling most of the bout. After the match, the Iraq War Veteran says he wants to fight again right away and start stacking up the wins.
Alex Hamer photo
Gabriel's arm raised in victory
After his victory, Gabriel’s family and friends celebrated and stood in the hallway taking photos with fans. Gabriel told ICTMN he hopes to bring boxing classes to the Onondaga Nation in order so the youth can learn the self-discipline boxing requires.
Follow ICTMN correspondent Alex Hamer on Twitter - @AlxHamer