Former heavyweight contender and regular sparring partner for Mike Tyson, Nate Tubbs hasn’t fought since his one-fight comeback in 2005, but he is slowly making a comeback to the sport that gave him direction in life – he just won’t be the one in the ring. Tubbs, the founder of the non-profit Nate Tubbs Group Home and Amateur Boxing Program, closed its door in the wake of the tragic murder of his son nearly 4 years ago. Stricken with grief, Tubbs stepped away from his life’s work.
Now after being away from the sport, Tubbs returned and is working hard to re-open his organization. Tubbs is organizing a night of fights to take place this Saturday night at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana. Part of the proceeds will go to fund a new gym and facilities for the organization. Tubbs spoke to the Boxing Tribune to talk about his organization, its goals, and Saturday’s event. Check out what he had to say.
Boxing Tribune: Hey, Nate. How’s everything going?
Nate Tubbs: It’s coming along pretty good. I’m taking care of business, running along dealing with fighters, they give me a headache. It isn’t like when I used to fight. We’re trying to get it done, we don’t wait until the last minute.
BT: I didn’t want to take too much of your time, I know you’re busy with your event coming up. I wanted to start off by talking briefly about your pro career for those who aren’t aware of who you are.
NT: Oh, yeah. Well, my pro record was like 19-4. In 1994 I knocked out Corrie Sanders in the second round in South Africa. That was the greatest moment of my career. It was unprecedented. It was over in South Africa. I was Mike Tyson’s sparring partner for about 15 good years. Earlier in 1994 I won the UBO [Universal Boxing Organization] title and I held it for four years. Then in the year 2000 I started a non-profit organization called the Nate Tubbs Group Home and Amateur Boxing Program. About three-and-a-half years ago my son was murdered in Cincinnati, and I sold my gym, I just sold everything and shut down because my mom passed away a month later. Then back in June I called Mike Tyson up to help out with this boxing event so I could get to a point where I could get the gym back open for these kids. This program it’s a group home and an amateur boxing program for kids. I’m just trying to guide these kids in the right way. It’s better me than somebody else because I used to be one of them, and they relate to me a little bit better than somebody that never experienced what they’re going through – and survived.
BT: I’m sorry to hear about your son, Nate. After the time off, what brought you back to your organization?
NT: Basically everywhere I want I would hear ‘when are you going to open the gym? When are you going to open the gym?’ We got a lot of talent, but we don’t have any good trainers. I had an organized program in a high-tech gym and I was there teaching. I taught kids how to deal with situations pertaining to training, as well as things outside the ring. It was like a one-stop shop. What brought me back was looking at all these kids, and everybody turning around and doing crime. We have mentoring programs where I could explain to these kids about the consequences of the things they do. You know, because I’ve got a criminal past myself. But I survived and I turned my life around and I’m at a place setting up something for my kids in my boxing program right now. I just got ten kids in a truck driving program, I’m trying to better their lives. And who better to do it than me? Because I’ve got a lot of book knowledge, and I’ve got a lot of street credibility because I used to be one of them. I used to be one of the tough guys. A lot of it is just me being respected by their parents. Their parents tell them about the things I used to do, and if I can change then anybody can change. I had my boxing career, and thank God I took some knowledge from it and I learned the business part. My gym is like a one-stop shop. Once these kids reach 18 I can help them turn pro and manage their careers, so it’s like on the job training already.
BT: Yeah, you know it sounds like a great program that’s more than just teaching kids how to box. You’re giving kids another option if a pro career doesn’t work out. Just so the information gets a little more run, what’s the name of your program again?
NT: The Nate Tubbs Group Home and Amateur Boxing Program.
BT: I understand you’ve got an event going down this weekend. Where will that take place?
NT: It’s at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana.
BT: Is it all pro fights, or is it a pro-am event?
NT: Only Pro
BT: You’ve got Tommy Hearns and Buster Douglas scheduled to be there.
NT: Yeah, Tommy Hearns, Buster Douglas, and Janks Morton.
BT: Oh, yes I forgot about him.
NT: Janks Morton trained Sugar Ray Leonard for about 30 years.
BT: They’re helping out in the promotion of the event. Will they be involved with the organization in any other way?
NT: Well, Janks Morton is from my hometown and he’s like a father figure to me. He’s going to put some things together. We’re all working together to put some things together to try to give these kids an opportunity.
BT: I understand this is another event in an ongoing series you’re looking to put together.
NT: It’s not the first event, it’s the third one this year. Mike Tyson came in last June and helped put some things together, and then Buster Douglas came in and helped out with the last show in October.
BT: So it’s a definite ongoing series that you’d like to keep going.
NT: Exactly. We’re trying to raise money to get the facilities back open, and get the equipment for the program. I mean, we’re out there looking for donations so we can help these kids.
BT: Do you have ticket and event information for those that might want to attend?
NT: It’s at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana. Tickets are being sold through Ticket Master, and they’ll be available at the door of the Rising Star ticket office. The doors open up at 6 pm, April the twenty-first, and the first bout is going to be at 7 pm. There’s going to be seven bouts, and one of them is a 2008 Olympian; Olanrewaju Durudola. He was a 2008 Olympian for Nigeria. He’s fighting a guy named Calvin Rooks out of Memphis, Tennessee. Then we’ve got the co-main event with Buster Douglas’ fighter. John L. Smith fighting Ralph Lawrence, and that’s going to be a hell of a fight. We’ve got a rising star named Mel Crossty out of Cincinnati… [the rest of the lineup was inaudible due to electrical interference].
BT: Well, it sounds like you’ve got a full night of fights going on.
NT: Yeah, we also have Janks Morton’s fighter Duane Mobley fighing Francisco Russell in a 6-round fight. I’m also expecting that to be a hell of a fight.
BT: Alright, Nate. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I’ll let you close by saying anything you didn’t get a chance to say already.
NT: Not really, I just want to ask that people come out and support and wish for the best.
BT: Alright, Nate. Thanks again for your time, and I wish you the best of luck.
NT: Alright, thanks.
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