MESQUITE, TX — Boxing hasn’t always been in George Jalloh’s blood, but the will to fight has.
The young boxer almost seemed destined for a life inside the ring. Jalloh was born into conflict. It was 1993, thousands of miles from his gym in Mesquite, where Jalloh learned at an early age to fight.
His native country, Sierra Leone, was immersed in a deadly civil war. Jalloh and his family were caught in the crossfire of violence. Some 50,000 people died during that 11-year war.
“The first time me witnessing the war, I remember that, even at a young age, I remember that; witnessing the war and people being scared for their life,” Jalloh recalled. “Pretty much a bullet had gazed off my head when I was younger.”
The Jalloh’s fled and sought refuge in America. The family settled in Mesquite — a city that allowed them the freedom to escape their past, and discover their dreams.
Today, Sierra Leon wages a different battle; this enemy, Ebola, is perhaps more sinister and less forgiving.
“I’m just blessed no one in my family has Ebola,” Jalloh said.
Far from his country, and in the safety of his surroundings, every punch, every swing, every hook lands Jalloh closer to his goal — a Golden Gloves match.
“You gotta really want it within yourself,” the boxer said.
A man filled with determination and motivation; a survivor, a refuge — a fighter.
“Everything I do, it always reflects back on my hometown.”