With an undefeated nine-match record and six knockouts, rising Ridgewood boxing star Mathew Gonzalez is poised to punch into the upper crust of the boxing industry over the next year.
Veteran boxing association Ring 8 recently selected Ridgewood native Mathew Gonzalez as 2019 Prospect of the Year. He will receive his honor at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Russo’s on the Bay, located at 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach.
Gonzalez is about halfway through a 10-fight contract with Fists of Legends Promotion and The Real Deal Boxing, founded by four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. If he can keep his undefeated streak through the end of the contract with 13 wins, he hopes that it will put him on track to sign a deal with one of boxing’s highest tier promotions in the next year.
The ambitious 24-year-old started training to when he was 8 years old and still enrolled at P.S. 239, which is located right across the street from his boxing gym. He has been working toward a career in boxing ever since and had his first competitive fight when he was 10 years old.
“It takes a lot to go in that ring and get punched in the face. Definitely not easy,” Gonzalez said. “You gotta be a different type of person to be a boxer.”
Asked how his perspective on the sport since then, Gonzalez says that now he thinks about it as a profession. Back then he said he thought of himself as a gladiator. Now he sees a career in boxing as a path to having an “above-average lifestyle.”
To him, business is personal. Gonzalez’s fiancée Jenny Badillo manages his career and owns the gym that he uses to train. Gonzalez said that there is no better his business partner than a loved one.
He added that it can be a “headache sometimes,” but “knowing that your manager is someone that you’re laying in bed with at the end of the day, that’s someone that you trust and know they have your best interests at heart.”
But his career ambition is not the only thing that drives him; Gonzalez currently runs the youth and teen program at Badillo’s boxing club in addition to taking on clients to train.
“I always felt like I was a fighter at heart,” he said.
On Thursday, he signed up for his next fight, which is scheduled for Dec. 5 at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. The bout will be promoted and live-streamed by DiBella Entertainment. Gonzalez didn’t know who his opponent would be yet, but was already counting it as a victory.
“Just come watch me go to work. I’ll be making a massacre,” he said.
No matter what heights his career takes him, Gonzalez said he would stay loyal to the neighborhood where he’s live his whole life. Then again, he sees big moves and a lifestyle to match in his future. “No two- or three-bedroom apartments,” for him.