Local lawyer, boxer focuses on father, son relationships

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— One national news publication called Venroy July a “triple threat,” while another said the boxer and CEO is among Baltimore’s entrepreneurs under 40 that are worth keeping a close eye on.

The Duke University graduate, lawyer and boxer has set aside the gloves and is focusing on promoting the sport as well as championing a closer relationship between fathers and their sons.

“I grew up in Jamaica and one of the things I remember growing up was watching boxing with my father,” said July, an attorney at the Baltimore firm of Hogan Lovells. “I remember him explaining to me the rules of boxing and how things worked. I remember going through each round and we would talk about it after each round and see how we feel about who won the round and who was the better fighter.”

During that time, July says his mother remained neutral, allowing father and son time to bond, which has led to July’s new program, the “Bring Your Boys” initiative.

July’s Hardwork Promotions Company has scheduled a fight card at Tall Cedars Hall in Baltimore for Thursday, July 9, 2015 in which all boys age 15 and under who are accompanied by their fathers will be admitted for $10. Additionally, Hardwork Promotions invites all military personnel, police and firefighters to the event for half the price of admission— Ringside VIP tickets are $600, regular VIP tickets are $75 and general admission is $40.

The fight card features Baltimore’s Travis “Seever” Reeves, who is seeking to continue a steak of six straight wins. Drayvontay Rawls of Capitol Heights, Maryland and Joel Young from Beltsville are also included on the card.

“The role of fathers in the lives of boys are critical and then when you think about what’s gone on in Baltimore recently, having that bonding time is vital and having police officers there too is important because the impact of the community yelling and cheering at a boxing match with police officers can have a great impact,” July said.

July earned his reputation as a competitor back in Jamaica. He was on the wrestling team at the University of North Carolina while pursuing an undergraduate degree in political science and economics. He later earned a law degree from Duke University and landed a job at a firm in Washington, D.C.

However, as he told Yahoo! Sports, the website that called him a “triple threat,” being an attorney means reading contracts all day. It didn’t provide him with the physical challenges he yearned for.

“My entire life had been a balance between sports and school. Even when I was at law school, I was wrestling for Duke,” July said. “I’ve always been about the balance and having a workout is a great way to break up the day and stay healthy. Let’s be honest, lawyers aren’t the most healthy people.”

When he decided to box as a Cruiserweight, July won his first fight and, after a few more triumphs, highly regarded boxing officials began to take notice, telling him that he had a future in the “Sweet Science.”

“Everybody kept telling me that if you turn pro and go 10-0, that’s the big break,” he said. “They kept telling me that 10-0 is the magic number. I got to 5-0 and I was saying to myself, ‘Man, I’m halfway there.’ I kept going and I got to 10-0 and the break didn’t come.”

However, that could be because of the busy schedule he has kept outside of the ring. Most notably, July’s “Bring Your Boys” initiative has become a top priority. He says bringing fathers and their sons together affords him a great privilege and great joy.

“How many people would like to bring their sons to an event, but they’re not going to bring them because of the price? Boys are going to be left at home because fathers are not willing to pay that kind of money,” July said. “So we just thought that for this, we wanted to create an atmosphere to allow fathers and sons because for me, it was so instrumental.”

For tickets for the upcoming boxing event or for more information about Hardwork Promotions, visit: www.hardworkpromotions.com.