DeAndre Ware Overcame the Odds to Defeat 2012 Olympian

By Caryn A. Tate on June 20, 2018
DeAndre Ware Overcame the Odds to Defeat 2012 Olympian
“I need to be able to fight inside and work the body to break them down.” (Toledo Blade)

From the beginning, it was clear to the Ohio native that he was expected to lose. He was determined to turn that expectation on its head…

A 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian fought in New York on Saturday, June 9 during the weekend of the 61st Puerto Rican Day Parade. That Olympian’s name is Enrique Collazo, who came into his 13th professional contest undefeated. By the end of the eight-round bout, though, Collazo had suffered his first defeat.

The man who delivered that defeat was underdog DeAndre Ware (12-0-2, 8 KOs), who traveled from Toledo, Ohio for the opportunity. The fight took place on a Real Deal Promotions card (the company run by legendary heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield), and from the beginning, it was clear to the Ohio native that he was expected to lose. He was determined to turn that expectation on its head.

“I knew I was fighting in his hometown so I knew I had to press the action. I had to dominate the fight,” Ware said. “I went in with that game plan. That no matter what happened, what I went through, or how I felt, I needed to be stronger. To make the fight more convincing.”

DeAndre’s coach, Lamar Wright out of Glass City Boxing Gym in Toledo, extrapolated on what led up to the contest. “We finished the last fight in March and went right back into camp. They called us 3 weeks before, telling us we got Collazo.

“He made it a dog fight. Collazo is 6’2” so we knew we had to get inside. They had a lot of things stacked against us. We were in New York for the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend and were fighting a Puerto Rican. Two judges had it close and a third had it 57-57. But [DeAndre] dominated the fight.”

It was DeAndre’s first eight-round contest, and he valued the experience. “It showed me where I was as a boxer,” Ware said. “I’ve known I’ve got what it takes to be on top. To beat a former Olympian, a guy who had a good record, to go eight rounds, and to push through—it made me dig deep.”

Ware, who had an impressive amateur boxing career and amassed a record of approximately 80-10, also works as a full-time firefighter in his native Toledo. His focus on two careers—neither of which are for the faint of heart—reveals a lot about DeAndre as an individual. “It’s just something I wanted to do,” he said about his boxing career. “I always wanted to be a professional athlete. Even when I’m tired [from firefighting], I just suck it up and get in the gym to do everything I need to do.”

Originally, DeAndre participated in practically everything but boxing. But a specific turn of events led him to the sport. “I played football at the University of Toledo. Before, I didn’t like boxing. I hated it—I thought it was boring and I didn’t want to watch it. What got me into it is while I was at the University of Toledo, I had a knee injury. I heard about professionals using boxing to help rehab and get back into their sport. I heard it was good for your footwork. My brother and my cousins boxed. So I went into it trying to rehab.

“Things didn’t go well with football, so I stuck with boxing because I’ve been athlete my whole life. Not doing nothing, having a normal life like everybody else, that didn’t sit right with me. I started to like it, and I got really good. I competed in national tournaments. I got to see the country.”

Being a 5’9” super middleweight, DeAndre is well aware of the need to fight well on the inside. “We’ve been working on it a lot throughout my pro career. It’s big for me because in my weight class I’m not tall, so the guys are gonna be taller than me. So I need to be able to fight inside and work the body to break them down and be effective.”

He added, chuckling, “Plus, my [ring] name is ‘The Axe Man’ so I have to live up to my name and try to chop guys down.”

After the biggest win of his professional career, Ware is enjoying the moment. But he’s not satisfied—he still has his eye on the future. “I’m waiting on my management to get back with me and let me know what’s [next]. I’m trying to soak in this big win and enjoy my family. I’m going on vacation for about a week or so but after that I’m back in the gym, and I’m gonna work harder.”

DeAndre is realistic about how quickly things need to move. He’s 30 years old and he and his team are ready for the next step up. “I think having a promoter would make things much easier for me. That’s kinda what we’re looking at right now. It’s been a tough road but after this fight who knows what could happen. I feel like this fight opened up some doors for me.

“I’m gonna keep working, fighting and I’m looking to be number one, so be on the lookout.”

Follow DeAndre on social media at Dre Ware on Facebook and @dre_ware1209 on Instagram.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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