by Ken Hissner
From 1983 to 1989 Rick Ray Taylor was a multi-time State and Regional Golden Gloves and Junior Olympic Champion in the South. His efforts earned him a boxing scholarship to Northern Michigan University in 1989. At the university he would win the Wisconsin State & Milwaukee Regional Golden Gloves titles in 1990 along with the Michigan ABF championship. In 1991 he won the Wisconsin and Milwaukee GG Championships again and in ‘92 Ricky traveled back home to capture the Mississippi/Louisiana ABF Championship. His last fight would be in Mobile, Alabama in 1993.
Taylor had 140 amateur fights and considered himself, “shot, “burned out”, “past prime” and “washed up” at an early age in his life (18). It may have been a blessing in a sense because by 1997 he knew the route he wanted to travel was as a trainer. So, from 1997 to 2000 he was a certified referee, judge and timekeeper for the USA/ABF. His father invented The Taylor Timer and he worked with his family for a number of years journeying from one event to another introducing Boxings new timekeeping device to the masses.
Currently, Taylor motivates and instructs boxing enthusiasts as a trainer in New York City. He teaches the sport to white & blue-collar professionals, competitive fighters, housewives and anyone with a willingness to learn. The valuable information relayed in each boxing training session is motivationally designed to instill a fascinating new addiction that will last a lifetime.
“Several months ago I attended the funeral of Vernon Forrest,” said Taylor. The former welterweight and light middleweight champion who was gunned down in Atlanta had attended Northern Michigan University. Taylor and Forrest attended the university at the same time and remained very good friends through the years. “When Vernon fought in New York, Ricky and I had ringside seats and the first person he hugged coming out of the ring was Rick Ray,” said Al Mitchell. “He was a good student (A) and writer with plenty of heart in the ring. He was in the first group to come to Marquette. We only had one room and I told them in three or four years we will look back on this and laugh,” said Mitchell.
“I live and love for Christ and am never afraid to admit it. It wasn’t always this way however. For many years I kept my Faith and Love hidden, tucked away “inside” with fear that someone (a potential client) may be insulted,” said Taylor.
“After reading my Bible and meditating on scripture I learned two very important verses that I live by,” said Taylor. “If you are ashamed of me before men then I will be ashamed of you before my Father” is the scripture Taylor points to. “This made me STOP wearing my Faith on the “inside” and BEGIN wearing my Faith on my sleeve,” said Taylor “I redesigned my LOGO and added “the FISH” to it. I also added an awesome quote from a man of God on my salutation (“Preach the Gospel at all times, use words when necessary”). A point was reached a few years ago where I wished that EVERYONE I’d come in contact with to know my Faith - this goes from my close friends over to the stranger behind the counter at the deli, everyone,” said Taylor.
At this point, ALL of my clients and everyone in the gym know that I stand for CHRIST. I have laid my hands upon and prayed for a few fighters in the gym upon their request on a few occasions. This is never done out of selfish pride in any way. I am mindful of this. My ACTS are only done to make me a delight in the eyes of Jesus Christ, my Savior,” said Taylor. The other important thing Taylor referred to in scripture is “I hate divorce”; “Whosoever shall put away his wife except for fornication…committeth adultery” (Matt 19:9). “I struggled with divorce for years. For a good three years I felt my wife slipping into the throngs of committing adultery on me, yet remained faithful and obedient to my promise. It was difficult yet, it was what I promised,” said Taylor. (Having gone through a divorce myself I can relate to this.) “Then the Lord showed me that verse in Matthew and my eyes opened. I learned that HE does not hate the divorcee, the fornicat”ed” or even the fornicatOR. God hates divorce. The fact that my (childless) marriage began unequally yoked and had grown so even MORE, opened my eyes to understand that HE still loves us both and wants us EACH with him, that’s all He wants” said Taylor.
“This realization was unveiled to me upon prayer when I divorced my wife. Through the trials I was facing, I grew in my Faith and kept my promise to remain faithful to her while growing in my walk with Him. She moved quickly in the opposite direction and the Lord led me out-of-the-wilderness of that marriage and into a Godly relationship with a Youth Minister,” said Taylor. “I am now re-married and loving life more than ever!”
Taylor has done a short film with former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney. The film is called THE FIGHT WITHIN and reflects the daily struggles of a fighter who just can’t let go of FIGHTING. “We filmed this in 2006 and it was truly an honor to spend a few days on the set with Mr. Cooney. Gerry’s endeavors of helping retired fighters in need, reflects his overall attitude as a Champion,” said Taylor. This can be seen on Taylor’s website at…
“I am a thriving, entrepreneur who has worked in Manhattan since 2000. I believe 1 Corinthians 1:18 sums it up. “It’s all about me,” said Taylor. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.
As a writer, Brick City Boxing and Bragging Rights Corner are among the many sites where his writings can be read. You will also find many video interviews Taylor has done on YouTube. He has trained people at Church Street, Gleasons, Mendez and countless other Boxing gyms in New York. Taylor brings over 25 years of experience to the table and hits full-speed in all he does. With fifteen years of boxing and ten years of training behind him, Ricky Ray’s love for the sport is reflected from his in-depth articles and off-the-cuff, in-your-face video interviews.
Above all, he puts Christ first and is bold enough to tell anyone about his faith while remaining wise enough to refrain from insulting their beliefs. He feels setting an example speaks louder than words.
I want to thank Al Mitchell, coach at Northern Michigan from 1993 to present for referring me to Ricky Ray Taylor. Ricky Ray is a welcome addition to “fighter of faith”!