By: Jordan Cope, Multimedia Reporter
The timer sounds, and Joe Veazey walks over to the corner of the boxing ring. His once light red shirt has turned dark red with sweat, as he leans over an old metal bucket where he spits twice and waits for the timer to ring again.
Veazey — known in the ring as “Bazooka” Joe Veazey — has fought 101 amateur fights, won three national tournaments and is currently 1-0 as a professional boxer. Veazey will take his undefeated pro record into Martinsburg, West Virginia, Dec. 9.
“[My first professional fight] was the first time I had nerves in over six or seven years,” Veazey said. “I’m just ready to get back in the ring. I want to be the fighter that brings ESPN to Royal Farms Arena. I want to be a household name in every language.”
Veazey has been around the sport of boxing since he was a baby. His father — Vincent Veazey — was training for one of his last fights at Brooklyn Boxing Club in Baltimore when Joe was just 2-years-old.
Vincent said that Brooklyn Boxing Club was like a baby sitter for Joe, and that Joe looked up to the older teenaged fighters as role models.
As the Veazey’s have gotten older, however, the roles have shifted. Vincent is now Joe’s trainer at Baltimore Boxing Club on South Broadway Street in Fells Point, and will be in his son’s corner come fight night.
“[Training Joe] has actually been pretty easy,” Vincent Veazey said. “A lot of guys, father-son, doesn’t work out in boxing. Thank God ours has so far. It’s completely gone our way. I don’t have to worry about him not doing his running, or not doing that. He’s dedicated.”
Helping to promote “Bazooka” Joe Veazey is owner and operator of Baltimore Boxing Club, Jake Smith.
Smith was once a professional boxer of his own right. In the ring he held an 11-6-2 record, and was a Maryland Super Middleweight and Maryland Light Heavyweight Champion.
After Smith retired from boxing, he knew that he wanted to stay involved in the sport. That led him to open Baltimore Boxing Club, and to be a promoter for fighters.
“I always sold a lot of tickets when I fought, so the whole time I’m thinking, ‘Man, after I’m done fighting, I want to promote,’” Smith said.
Just as Vincent Veazey and Smith’s boxing careers didn’t last forever, Joe Veazey knows his won’t either.
Following his fight on Dec. 9, Joe Veazey will enroll for classes in January at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) to prepare for the day his professional boxing career does come to an end. But for the time being, “Bazooka” Joe Veazey is living his dream.
“I’ve always wanted to be boxer since day one,” he said. “I don’t know my life without boxing. But of course I got to have school, I got to have a backup plan. My body ain’t going to work for the next 50 years at the level I want it to. I wish it would.”