Sunset Park boxer pays tribute to community in upcoming Barclays debut

Gabriel Tito Bracero has always been proud to call Sunset Park home.

Ever since he started boxing at age nine — trained by his father, a former boxer — the sport saved him from a life once confined to tough streets and prison bars.

“Sunset Park used to be a really tough neighborhood,” said Bracero. “As a kid, I was getting caught up in the wrong crowd. I thought I had friends. The only friends I have are my family, so all I ever did was hurt my family by being away. I came home and dedicated my life to wanting to give my family a better life, so that’s my motivation.”

Now in a position to give back to the neighborhood, the 23-1 two-time golden glove boxer will pay tribute to the WashClub – a Sunset Park business and sponsor that hired a good friend of his – by sporting its logo on his trunks when he faces Felix Diaz (16-0) in his April 11 Barclays Center debut.

Rick Rome, WashClub founder and president, understood what a troubled past could do to a person. Coming from a tough Chicago neighborhood, he knows how things can be sometimes, and had helped out the community through high school career day appearances, public school donations and through hiring neighborhood residents in need of a job, despite any troubled backgrounds.

“At the end of the day, we’re all human,” said Rome. “We all make mistakes. The question is can you grow from it? So, I’m very proud of Sunset Park. I like the people of Sunset Park. I really do. I’m proud to say not only that we’re from Brooklyn, but we’re from Sunset Park.”

Bracero hopes to one day open up his own boxing gym in Sunset Park, to supply an outlet for the youth growing up without parents. He just wants to give back to the neighborhood, giving others a chance, like Rome gave his friend.

“I want to be a motivation and an inspiration for people in Sunset Park and within my community,” said Bracero. “It’s a beautiful thing to have a business like that in our community that’s hiring people in our community and we need more people like him in our community.”

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