Boxing champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade

Boxing champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade

Demetrius Andrade doesn’t remember how he got the nickname “Boo Boo.” He’s had it since he was a little kid growing up in Rhode Island.

“It was just a name given to me by somebody in my family when I was young,” Andrade said.

It stuck, even though it may not sound like the kind of fierce nickname someone in Andrade’s position usually would carry.

He’s a professional fighter. His nickname may not strike fear into his opponents, but Andrade doesn’t seem to let that worry him. He calls himself Boo Boo everywhere. His website is boobooboxing.com. He’s boobooboxing on Twitter and Facebook, too. So maybe, Paul Andrade, the fighter’s father and trainer said, trying to give it a bit of a spin, “Boo Boo” works out all right as a boxer’s nickname after all. “Boo Boo will give you a boo boo,” he said with a grin.

Whatever he’s called, Andrade, a 26-year-old light middleweight, already has claimed his share of success as a fighter.

He’s won Golden Gloves championships, competed in the Olympics, and won a silver medal in the Pan American Games. He’s 20-0 as a professional. Last year, he won the World Boxing Organization’s world championship as a junior middleweight. The guy he beat was nicknamed “Nightmare.”

Now Andrade is preparing for his first defense of his title. The match is scheduled for June 14. He’s relocated his family and entourage to Sandy Springs for his training. He trained in the north Fulton city for his title match last year and has stayed on. He works out at Delgado Boxing, a cinder-block-walled boxing gym located in the back of a Roswell Road shopping center. Paul Delgado, the ex-Bostonian who started the gym, is an old acquaintance of Andrade’s dad from Delgado’s boxing days.

Andrade said he hits the gym every day to prepare. He spends his time “boxing, just working out.” He claims no training secrets.

“There’s no new thing we do that nobody else does,” he said. “We work harder at it. We know how to work out.”

Andrade started learning about boxing about the same time people started calling him Boo Boo. Growing up, he played football and tried karate. When he was about 4 or 5, he said, he started hanging around a gym that his dad, a construction contractor, took over so his boys would have a place to go after school. “It was just to keep them off the streets, him and his two brothers,” said Paul Andrade, who’s now 58.

“It became part of my daily life,” Demetrius Andrade said.

Andrade said he found he liked everything about boxing: “the training, getting in shape, fighting, having fun, finding who you are,” he said. “As a person, boxing will put you through some stuff,” he said. Like what? “Finding out how tough you are, seeing if you have the will it takes.”

And boxing allows him to take care of his family. He has two young daughters, aged 7 and 3, he said.

His dad says family is what matters. “I have three sons … My concern is life after boxing,” he said. “What sort of man he’s going to be to take care of his family. I don’t care if they have to work at McDonald’s, if they can take care of their families.”

After decades in the gym, Andrade seems comfortable in his role as a champion boxer. He’s graceful in the ring and soft-spoken, even slightly bemused, as he answers questions about himself.

“One day,” Paul Andrade said, “I was giving him directions and he said, ‘Dad, I’ve been doing this 18 years.’ It’s true. He’s 26 now and he’s been doing it 20 years. He better know what he’s doing. He gets up and boxes like people get up and breathe. It’s like somebody who’s been playing piano since they were 3.”

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