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Fotografie Andreas Ewert Sport und Fitness
Fotografie Andreas Ewert Sport und Fitness
Fotografie Andreas Ewert Sport und Fitness
Fotografie Andreas Ewert Sport und Fitness
Fotografie Andreas Ewert Sport und Fitness
Fotografie Andreas Ewert aus Baden-Baden / Lichtenau, Boxer John
Fotografie Andreas Ewert - Boxer John

May 12, 2012

Detours and back roads to a dream

 A USAREUR Soldier’s journey to becoming an Olympian

By Spc. Adam Garlington, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany – John Roland Rene grew up alongside three brothers and two sisters in the northwestern part of D.C., referred to by locals as “Uptown,” with a dream of fighting for his country in an Olympic boxing ring.

Jean Rene, his father and once All-Marine boxer, started training him when he was 5 years old. His mother, Michelle, used to take him to Midtown Youth Academy, a local boxing gym. There, Eugene R. Hughes, Sugar Ray Leonard’s former youth trainer, taught him to box.

Because of his parent’s busy schedules, Rene’s exposure to the gym was limited, so he compensated for this by engaging in other hobbies and activities.

Soccer and dancing, however, were not received well by the neighborhood children, which made it difficult for Rene to make friends.

“The football players would always talk trash and try to beat me up because I danced,” Rene said. “I was always forced to prove myself, but I only fought out of necessity.”

Being doubted and asked to prove himself was nothing new to Rene, but one of those doubts was the spark that ignited the fire — a fire that would drive him down the path to accomplishing his dream of professional boxing.

In 1999, Rene went to live with his father in Bronx, N.Y., after his parents separated. He and his father were watching a boxing match on television, and he told his father that he could be a professional boxer. His father responded with words that he will never forget because they’re tattooed on Rene’s chest.

“My dad said, ‘you don’t have what it takes to be a boxer. You need to learn how to play chess’,” Rene said. “This was the moment that motivated me to prove all my doubters wrong.”

Rene joined the Morris Park Boxing Club, where he viciously trained for the next two years.

Although his boxing skills and conditioning were the best in his life, Rene felt that he needed more training to become a professional boxer.

In 2001, a 20-year-old Rene decided that the best way to enhance his skills was to join an organization with a distinguished history and tradition of creating professional fighters, the U.S. Army.

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