Once-beaten Jamaican talks about the trials and tribulations of growing up with his grandparents in Chicago and promises to punish Julian ‘J-Pebbles’ Williams in their 154-pound title eliminator April 7 on Showtime.
Nathaniel Gallimore arrived in Chicago from his native Jamaica at age 12 and has not seen his mother since. He has overcome a troubled street life to become a professional boxer, which in turn helped turn his life around.
On April 7, in the most significant match of his career, Gallimore will step into the ring against Julian Williams in a 154-pound title eliminator on the Showtime-televised card (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Gallimore will be fighting for the first time with new trainer John Pullman and seeking his eighth-straight victory by stoppage.
The 29-year-old Gallimore insinuated himself into the 154-pound picture with a KO victory over Justin DeLoach last summer. He drew the attention of Stephen Edwards, Williams’ trainer, as a potential opponent as Williams tries to rebound from his lone loss to Jermall Charlo in 2016.
The man nicknamed “No Problem” pulled no punches as he talked about his big Vegas opportunity or the lowly mistakes he made in his past.
Where were you born, and how was your childhood?
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and came to America at age 12 with my Dad, Donald, and four of my five brothers. I’m the oldest. My dad got deported back after about four years, and I haven’t seen my mom since I was 11 years old.
When I first got to the states, we lived with my Granddad and Grandma. As a teenager, I got into some serious trouble with law enforcement. But I made up my mind to change my life for the better. Part of changing my life was a result of my high school friend who told me how he was boxing.
He introduced me to his coach and there was an instant connection. I was 23 and fell in love with it, going to the gym every day. I became an American citizen a year later. As a 26-year-old amateur, I won the Chicago Golden Gloves.
How difficult was enduring your father’s deportation?
My grandparents took care of us, but we moved around a lot—Chicago, Evanston, Illinois. My grandmother, Ivelle, is still alive, but my grandfather, George, passed four years ago. My grandmother worked hard to support all of us. We didn’t see her on a daily basis as a result.
My grandfather would always do the cooking for us and make sure things were okay. But there were so many of us, it was hard for him, too, because we had a lot free time on our hands and the streets became my second home.
What trouble did you get into?
I was able go graduate from Evanston Township High School, but as a teenager I was involved in gangs and fighting in the streets and drugs.
Did your grandfather get to see you fight?
Yes, he saw a few of my amateur fights, and he was actually a big influence on getting me to like boxing. We’d be watching television, and he would come in and tell us to turn the channel to boxing at a time when I didn’t like it. Yet I became a boxer and he’s the one who basically started me thinking about it.
But I didn’t turn professional until I was 26, so he didn’t get to see that. I think about him all the time, and I carry him in my heart. Now, I’m here fighting a world title eliminator, ready to make an example of Williams. So when I win this next fight, and, eventually, a world championship, I will do it in his memory.
“ He got famous for being knocked out by Jermall Charlo. I’ll make a statement starting with ‘J-Pebbles’ Williams. I call him ‘J-Pebbles’ because he’s not a ‘J-Rock.’ He’s not tough. He’s soft. ” 154-pound contender Nathaniel Gallimore
Why the switch to John Pullman, who is associated with trainer and former champion Buddy McGirt?
I had George Hernandez from my second fight until my fight with Justin DeLoach, but we parted ways because it wasn’t working out. Now, we’re down here in Los Angeles training with John Pullman and Buddy McGirt.
I have so much more opportunity, and the sparring is better. The environment in Chicago is a lot tougher to train in and to stay focused in with the distractions and the crime rate going on. Over here, we have the luxury of staying focused and training.
My primary coach has been John Pullman, and I’m using all of my tools out here sparring with Hugo Santana and Shane Mosley Jr. I’m more versatile, being able to box, slug, and able to adapt to any situation. However Julian Williams wants to fight, I can bring it to him.
How much of a coming out party so to speak was the Justin DeLoach fight?
That was a statement, but it was all part of the game plan. I knew what I had in me and I knew I had him beat before I even got into the ring.
That was just the right opportunity to let the world know, and I took advantage of the moment. I displayed my talents just like I’m planning to do in this fight.
Is Julian Williams the best fighter that you will have faced?
No. Julian is not the best fighter I’ve faced. Justin DeLoach is better than J-Rock. Jelson Rosario was way better than Julian Williams. Jelson was 12-0 with 10 knockouts and I stopped him in the sixth round. Julian Williams just got the recognition.
He got famous for being knocked out by Jermall Charlo. There’s no mistaking why I’m here, and I’ll make a statement starting with ‘J-Pebbles’ Williams. I call him ‘J-Pebbles’ because he’s not a ‘J-Rock.’ He’s not tough. He’s soft.
He’s an average fighter. There’s nothing special about him. He’s nothing. The best way he can prepare is to do chin pushups, because I’m going to test his chin. Chin pushups are the only thing that can protect him. But if they think I’m going to come in like a raging bull, they’re wrong.
How does this fight go and how does it end?
I can adapt to any situation on the fly, and I’m going to dismantle him piece-by-piece, round-by-round. When that time comes to seek and destroy, I’m gonna take him out. The year 2018 is going to be my coming out year.
This is a huge opportunity to present my skills and my abilities to the world. I’m the one they should be worried about. I’m going to display total domination. I won’t predict a round, but trust me you will see that the knockout is going to come.
For a closer look at Willaims vs Gallimore, visit our fight page.
- 12 Rounds With